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Grant number like: FZ-231396-15

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Nicholas Andrew Basbanes
Unaffiliated independent scholar

Public Scholars
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2016 – 12/31/2016

Cross of Snow: A Life of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

A biographical examination of the life, times, and celebrity of the poet and his role in shaping American cultural identity.

A multi-layered biographical and critical narrative written for the general reader examining the life, times, and unprecedented celebrity of the 19th-century American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and of his role in the shaping of a cultural identity that was truly American. A project ripe in the 21st century for a fresh consideration, the book will also profile at length the influence of Longfellow's ill-fated wife, Frances Elizabeth Appleton Longfellow, heretofore never more than a curiosity on the margins of his story. It will include, too, a portrait of 19th-century literary Boston and Cambridge, and offer a fresh evaluation of Longfellow’s place in the pantheon of American literature. The project will involve primary research at the Longfellow House in Cambridge, Mass., a repository of artifacts and archival materials numbering 800,000 items, as well as at other major collections, and use the principles of materiality to offer added insight and nuance to the major characters