circa 1898 (undated in book); W.B. Conkey Company publishers, Chicago; suede leather bound artistic covers good condition with minor wear and a few spots (pic); good condition of pages.
The Song of Hiawatha is an 1855 epic poem in trochaic tetrameter by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow that features Native American characters. The epic relates the fictional adventures of an Ojibwe warrior named Hiawatha and the tragedy of his love for Minnehaha, a Dakota woman. Events in the story are set in the Pictured Rocks area on the south shore of Lake Superior. Longfellow's poem, though based on native oral traditions surrounding the figure of Manabozho, represents not a work of transmission but an original work of American Romantic literature.
Longfellow's sources for the legends and ethnography found in his poem were the Ojibwe Chief Kahge-ga-gah-bowh during his visits at Longfellow's home; Black Hawk and other Sac and Fox Indians Longfellow encountered on Boston Common; Algic Researches (1839) and additional writings by Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, an ethnographer and United States Indian agent; and Heckewelder's Narratives.
In sentiment, scope, overall conception, and many particulars, Longfellow insisted, "I can give chapter and verse for these legends. Their chief value is that they are Indian legends."
Longfellow had originally planned on following Schoolcraft in calling his hero Manabozho, the name in use at the time among the Ojibwe/Anishinaabe of the south shore of Lake Superior for a figure of their folklore, a trickster-transformer. But in his journal entry for June 28, 1854, he wrote, "Work at 'Manabozho;' or, as I think I shall call it, 'Hiawatha'—that being another name for the same personage." Longfellow, following Schoolcraft, was mistaken in thinking the names were synonyms. In Ojibwe lore the figure of Manabozho is legendary but the name Hiawatha is unknown. The name Hiawatha derives from the name of a historical figure associated with the League of the Iroquois, the Five Nations, then located in present-day New York and Pennsylvania. The popularity of Longfellow's poem nevertheless led to the name "Hiawatha" becoming attached to a number of locales and enterprises in areas more historically associated with the Ojibwe than the Iroquois.
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