Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Song of Hiawatha

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

This is weird: a modern retelling of ancient tales that is pretty old itself. It wasn't old in 1855, of course, when Mr. Longfellow published his version of Native American folk-tales. It's the epic poem of Hiawatha, the wise and powerful demigod who guides and protects his people and has many an adventure. According to the introduction, Longfellow has been accused of "cleaning up" the original tales to make them more palatable to a Victorian audience. That may be so (I can't tell you from personal experience whether that's true or not), but isn't that what folk tales are all about? You embellish the basic story to enchant your audience. Anyway, however much Mr. Longfellow may have monkeyed with the stories, he didn't spoil them. I found the book to be enjoyable, despite my tendency to start skimming through poetic writing.

Eh, check it out.
LibraryThing link


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