The Public Poet

HWL. Voices of the Night (Boston: Robert Redding, 1845).


*2001G-29. Purchased with the Bayard Livingston and Kate Gray Kilgour fund, 2001. Houghton Library.

The "shilling" edition of Voices of the Night with its rare original wrappers. Longfellow himself professed to be amused by the appearance of double columns (they looked like, he wrote in his journal on 15 January 1849, "travellers in a stage-coach" who had to sit "with their knees bent under them"), but he also knew that this format helped to make his books more affordable. Interestingly, Edgar Allan Poe, who had made fun of the fine appearance of an illustrated edition of Longfellow's poetry published by Carey & Hart, also disapproved of this version of Voices of the Night, arguing that "the dignity of poetical letters should be maintained."