A Tale of Acadie

Henry W. Longfellow


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Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie (1847) is an epic poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. A master of poetic tradition and form, Longfellow wrote Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie in dactylic hexameter, the meter of such classical epics as Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey as well as Virgil’s Aeneid. Inspired by the experience of the Acadians, a Francophone people living in northern Maine and the Canadian Maritime provinces who were forcefully expelled by British forces during the French and Indian War, Longfellow composed his American epic, a story of faith, romance, and perseverance steeped in tradition and beloved by generations to come.

In the French colony of Acadie, a young woman named Evangeline Bellefontaine marries Gabriel Lajeunesse. They begin their lives together in happiness, surrounded by the beauty of the forests and waters of the Maritimes. When war breaks out between the French and the British, the Acadians are forced out of their homes by the advancing British. Separated from Gabriel, Evangeline makes her way across America in search of safety and her missing husband. After several near misses and years of living on the road, Evangeline settles in Philadelphia, where she joins a convent and cares for the sick as a deadly epidemic sweeps across the land. Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie is an epic of a forgotten history, a tale of hardship and the love that would overcome it.

With a beautifully designed cover and professionally typeset manuscript, this edition of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie is a classic of American literature reimagined for modern readers.


Henry W. Longfellow:

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) was an American poet. Born in Portland, Maine, Longfellow excelled in reading and writing from a young age, becoming fluent in Latin as an adolescent and publishing his first poem at the age of thirteen. In 1822, Longfellow enrolled at Bowdoin College, where he formed a lifelong friendship with Nathaniel Hawthorne and published poems and stories in local magazines and newspapers. Graduating in 1825, Longfellow was offered a position at Bowdoin as a professor of modern languages before embarking on a journey throughout Europe. He returned home in 1829 to begin teaching and working as the college’s librarian. During this time, he began working as a translator of French, Italian, and Spanish textbooks, eventually publishing a translation of Jorge Manrique, a major Castilian poet of the fifteenth century. In 1836, after a period abroad and the death of his wife Mary, Longfellow accepted a professorship at Harvard, where he taught modern languages while writing the poems that would become Voices of the Night (1839), his debut collection. That same year, Longfellow published Hyperion: A Romance, a novel based partly on his travels and the loss of his wife. In 1843, following a prolonged courtship, Longfellow married Fanny Appleton, with whom he would have six children. That decade proved fortuitous for Longfellow’s life and career, which blossomed with the publication of Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie (1847), an epic poem that earned him a reputation as one of America’s leading writers and allowed him to develop the style that would flourish in The Song of Hiawatha (1855). But tragedy would find him once more. In 1861, an accident led to the death of Fanny and plunged Longfellow into a terrible depression. Although unable to write original poetry for several years after her passing, he began work on the first American translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy and increased his public support of abolitionism. Both steeped in tradition and immensely popular, Longfellow’s poetry continues to be read and revered around the world.