Hannah J, Media/Journalist
Nicholas Basbane's Cross of Snow is an elegant biography of the nineteenth-century poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and also a literary history of not only the time in which Longfellow wrote but the more recent era in which his work was all but discarded by modernist critics and serious readers. Although the poet is perhaps best remembered for sentimental and sing-songy rhymes such as the Song of Hiawatha and Paul Revere's Ride, Basbanes draws out a much more serious and thoughtful writer. This study is named after a poem Wordsworth wrote in memory of his wife (who had died almost two decades earlier)--drawing a parallel between a cross of snow on a mountainside and the cross of snow on his heart. A beautiful book, badly needed in these cold times.