Longfellow in Love: Passion and Tragedy in the Life of the Poet
Edward M. Cifelli
After four years travelling through Europe and a yearlong romance with Giulia Persiani in Rome, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow came back home in 1829 and fell in love again, this time with Mary Storer Potter, whom he married in 1831. They travelled together to England and Scandinavia in 1834 but their happiness was cut short when she died in 1835.
In 1836, traveling in Switzerland, he met the woman who would become the grand passion of his life, 18-year old Fanny Appleton of Boston. But she, a wealthy textile heiress, was not interested in settling down with a Harvard professor. She rebuffed his advances for six years—then suddenly changed her mind and married him on July 13, 1843. For the next 18 years they were “America’s couple,” and Longfellow became America’s poet—and then tragedy struck once again.