Longfellow as Translator

HWL's copy of The Divine Comedy  (Leipzig: Tauchnitz, 1867).


*AC85.L8605.865dd v.1. Houghton Library.

Identical to the American edition apart from format, print quality, and price, this edition was published by the Leipzig firm of the Freiherr von Tauchnitz for the European market. Longfellow's copy of the first volume shows that he could not refrain from making changes even after his translation had been printed. In the Francesca da Rimini canto he crossed out the word "one" in l. 135, replacing it with "man" in the margin: "This man, who ne'er from me shall be divided, / Kissed me upon the mouth all palpitating."

Tauchnitz was the first European publisher to avail himself of the new international market created by the continent-wide system of railway lines in Europe, and he did so by courting the authors themselves, offering them strong financial incentives to secure their loyalty. As Longfellow noticed with satisfaction, Tauchnitz paid "handsome sum[s] for copyright" (to Johann Georg Kohl, 20 June 1860).