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Longfellow and Dickens: The Story of a Trans-Atlantic Friendship

Item 16527   info | My Album
Image of Charles Dickens and Longfellow / Maine Historical Society

A resource developed through the Longfellow and the Forging of American Identity program

Author: Donna Wilhelm, Teacher Freeport High School (English)
Suggested Grade Level: 10-12
Subject Areas: Humanities, English

Time Required:
2-3 Class periods per section (Nine sections)
You may choose to do some or all of the sections.

Learning Objectives:
Students will use a variety of documents to explore the relationship between Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Charles Dickens. Students will make connections between various texts, and put the friendship between the two men into a societal and historical context.

Materials and Resources Required:
Download the lesson plan packet (PDF) which contains the following documents:
-Extensive Document Based Questions for Students
-Useful resources for learning more about Charles Dickens
-Performance Indicators aligned with Maine Learning Results

Download the following manuscript (.pdf version)
-The full text of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Dana's manuscript Longfellow and Dickens: The Story of a Trans-Atlantic Friendship, which documents the friendship between Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Charles Dickens.

What if you don't teach American Studies but you want to connect to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in meaningful ways? One important connection is Henry's friendship with Charles Dickens. There are many great resources about Dickens and if you teach his novels, you probably already know his biography and the chronology of his works. No listing for his association with Henry appears on most websites and few references will be found in texts. However, journals and diary entries and especially letters reveal a friendship that allowed their mutual respect to influence Henry's work.