Evangeline, A Tale of Acadie

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Thomas Chandler Haliburton (1796—1865) politician and writer


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Narrative poem in unrhymed English hexameters, by Longfellow, published in 1847. Material was drawn from works by T. C. Haliburton, Schoolcraft, and possibly Chateaubriand, while Goethe's Hermann und Dorothea was a strong influence on the verse and manner of treatment. The subject was known to Hawthorne, who suggested it to Longfellow. A dramatization was made in 1860 by Sidney Frances Bateman.

Evangeline, daughter of Benedict Belle-fontaine, is about to be married to Gabriel Lajeunesse, son of Basil, the blacksmith of the Acadian village of Grand Pré, when, during the French and Indian War, the English exile the French residents to safer British colonies. The lovers are separated, and Gabriel and Basil make their way to Louisiana, while Evangeline continues to seek them. Finding Basil, she goes with him on further quests and alone to the Michigan woods. Years of fruitless wandering cause her to become prematurely old, and she settles in Philadelphia as a Sister of Mercy. There, during a pestilence, she recognizes a dying old man as her former lover. The shock of his death kills her, and, united at last, they are buried together in the Catholic cemetery.

Subjects: Literature — History of the Americas.

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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807—1882) American poet

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