American Poetry in the Age of Whitman and Dickinson

Archive for May 2016

A Minor Angevin

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For my own amusement, I keep track of Longfellow sightings, especially those from modern authors; and I keep track of Sicily references too, having family there. I note, then, the following from Mary McCarthy, her late memoir How I Grew (1987):

I am not sure where I found Longfellow’s Tales of a Wayside Inn, containing as one chapter “The Saga of King Olaf”; I had hated “Hiawatha,” all too reminiscent of the civics of Minnehaha Park and Minnehaha Falls, but I loved those tales, and they are the main reason I know something of European history Normans, popes, and German emperors. It was a shock, then, to discover rather recently that “Robert of Sicily, brother of Pope Urbane and Valmond, Emperor of Allemaine,” who learned the lesson of humility one Easter Sunday in Palermo, who was not an historical figure; all my life, from the age of twelve on, I had been taking him for a minor Angevin.

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Written by Ben Friedlander

May 27, 2016 at 2:04 pm