“A fairer reading of Longfellow’s work, however, would be this: Hiawatha was a one-time experiment for him, not to be taken as the quintessence of his muse but as one among other occasional attempts to extend his treatment of American life beyond the regional and cultural boundaries he knew best… Although his experiment failed by any exacting standard, at least it was vigorous enough to establish itself, along with James Fenimore Cooper’s novels, ahead of the thousand of other contemporary literary evocations of Indian life.”

Lawrence Buell, in the introduction to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: Selected Poems