This is a preprint
restricted access Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie and the Ambiguous Afterlife of the History of the Acadians

Longfellow’s Evangeline was hailed as a great and distinctively American work when it appeared in 1847, and the poem’s use of North American history was a key element in its favourable reception. This use of history, however, is ambiguous and complex. The epic continues, first of all, in a long tradition of romanticized retellings of the heart-rending story of the Acadians. But the work also engages in a dual-level dialogue with both the mid-eighteenth-century history of the Acadians, who are pitied, without inciting indignation, and the contemporary history of midnineteenth-century America, whose xpansionism it both implicitly celebrates and criticizes.