The Song of Hiawatha

  • by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  • Narrated by William Hootkins
  • 4 hrs and 0 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Longfellow's great narrative poem has been unjustly neglected in recent years though it gives a sympathetic portrait especially of Hiawatha, reared by Nokomis, daughter of the Moon, and his bride Minehaha.It is famously underpinned by its hypnotic rhythm, which makes it ideal listening.PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

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Audible Editor Reviews

For many readers, William Hootkins's narration of Longfellow's classic nineteenth-century poem will evoke memories of elementary or middle school. Longfellow's extended narrative is set in a regular, easily recognized rhythm. This rhythm guides Hootkins's delivery, as this is more of a performance than a simple narration. He powerfully underscores the moments of import, giving the impression of a traditional storyteller revisiting a familiar piece. The one weakness in Hootkins's performance may come from matching Longfellow's poetry too closely. At times, the poem seems to drive on in the same vein for too long, with too many attempts at peak moments.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

To be taken in small doses

Many people may have come across extracts from Hiawatha and - haunted by the cadence of its repetitive rhythm -may be curious to sample the whole poem.This audio book provides an excellent opportunity.William Hootkins proves to be an ideal reader:he judges well the flow and variety of the narrative,not disguising the monotonous, hypnotic quality of the verse but using this to create a coherent and convincing heroic world.Some listeners may be put off by the pervasive repetitions and often slow narrative but those who persist and become acclimatised to the world of Hiawatha will be rewarded by getting to know a most enjoyable poem. It is not Homer alas -no memorable characters, profound insight or masterful structure - and I very much doubt whether it is an authentic guide to Native American culture -but it is something unique in English poetry and there were good reasons why it was once so popular.It deserves revisiting - but I do advise listening to short extracts or one episode at a time -more extensive listening might lead to boredom or even sleep.
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- Francis

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-08-2005
  • Publisher: Naxos AudioBooks