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Longfellow’s celebrity in his own time, however, has yielded to changing literary tastes and to reactions against the genteel tradition of authorship he represented.
On the advice of George Ticknor of Harvard, Longfellow decided to add German to French, Spanish, and Italian.
Later, he distilled memories of European wanderings (along with material from his college lectures) into , but not before directing his talents to more practical kinds of writing.
Back at Bowdoin in his new role, Longfellow felt stultified in a college atmosphere so different from what he had experienced at Göttingen and stifled by the provincial atmosphere of Brunswick.
His continuing concerns about the place of poetry in American culture emerged, however, in his 1832 review essay on a new edition of Sir Philip Sidney‘s “The Defence of Poetry,” in which Longfellow argued that “the true glory of a nation consists not in the extent of its territory, the pomp of its forests, the majesty of its rivers, the height of its mountains, and the beauty of its sky; but in the extent of its mental power,—the majesty of its intellect,—the height and depth and purity of its moral nature.” Despite the frustrations Longfellow experienced in his new vocation, there was personal happiness.
Shortly after his return from Europe, he began his courtship of Mary Potter, daughter of Judge Barrett Potter; she was a Portland neighbor who was a friend of his sister Anne.