Wednesday, April 23, 2014
“Longfellow Days” is celebrated in
Longfellow is an important writer for Franco-Americans and French Acadians, who know him as the author of “Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie”. This globally famous epic poem published in 1847, depicts the emotional trauma about “le grand derangement”, or “the great upheaval”, when the British forcibly expelled the Acadians from
“Evangeline” is a fictional heroine whose name is a metaphor for the 1755 French Acadian “le grand derangement”. Although the heroine’s sad journey didn’t pass through
Francoise Paradis, of Buxton and a native of the
Paradis published a coffee table large print edition of Evangeline with illustrations from an 1886 edition of Longfellow's poem (a photo gallery link follows in this blog)
Additionally, Paradis produced an audio recording of the poem, read by the author’s great-great nephew, Layne Longfellow.
Moreover, Paradis rescued two statues, one of Evangeline and another of Notre Dame de l’Assumption, the patron saint of the Acadians, in a soon to be closed Roman Catholic church in Chelsea Massachusetts. She asked for and obtained permission to move both statues to
Paradis continues to expand her tribute to Evangeline. She’s writing a teachers guide to the poem and a story about the impressive statues she obtained from Notre Dame de l'Assumption in
“I republished ‘Evangeline’, because I visited a high school where they were using photocopies of the poem, as they did not have books. I wrote a brief history of Acadians, including the Acadians of the
An important inclusion in the Paradis re-publication is a copy of the official royal acknowledgement of the great upheaval, dated
Among books I’ve personally collected about Evangeline, is one originally published in 1866, titled “Longfellow’s Evangeline”. This tiny antique book contains a treasure trove of history about the Acadians and how Longfellow came to write the internationally famous poem.
Copyright 1896 by Alice M. Longfellow, the author's daughter.
Cover price Twenty-Five Cents
Setting this book apart from others about the same subject is the republication date in 1896, by Alice M. Longfellow (1850-1928), the author’s oldest daughter. (“Price Twenty-Five Cents” is printed on the cover of the 1896 edition.)
Obviously, Longfellow’s daughter must have approved of this particular book. An introduction tells the history of the Acadian expulsion and how its story impacted on her brother, and why he was motivated to create an international epic about their plight.
Additionally, Longfellow’s daughter writes a history of the poem, in the 1896 edition.
Alice M. Longfellow in a 1921 group photograph
“The origin…is one of those interesting incidents of the relations of authors toward each other….,” she writes. Apparently, Longfellow was alerted to the story by fellow writer, Nathanial Hawthorne, who was also a
Since 1847, “Evangeline” has been published internationally and it was produced as a popular silent movie in 1929, starring Dolores Del Rio.
Although Evangeline is a fictional heroine, her legend transcends the centuries since 1755, and she’s become a messenger to the world about le grand derangement.
A program about Longfellow with poetry readings is planned beginning Saturday, February 1st, at
A picture gallery with information about the republished “Evangeline” poem by Francoise Paradis, EdD, is available at this site: http://tinyurl.com/ldebk3q
Juliana L’Heureux is a freelance writer whose articles about Maine’s Franco-American history and culture have appeared in Portland newspapers for 25 years. She serves on the Maine Franco-American Leadership Council.
Juliana and her husband Richard live in Topsham ME. Feel free to contact her at Juliana@mainewriter.com.