About Nicholas A. Basbanes
Well known for writing about books, bibliophiles, and various aspects of book culture, Nicholas Basbanes has worked as an award-winning investigative reporter, a literary editor, a lecturer, and a nationally syndicated columnist. More…

Nick on C-SPAN2 BookTV

Book TV
A one-hour visit with Nick in his home library, and in his office among his books, aired recently on C-SPAN BookTV, and can now be viewed online. To see it, click here
Gently Mad Blog
Entries From Nick

Biblioclasm in Mosul

When innocent people are being slaughtered by ISIS terrorists in the most savage and unspeakable of ways, it is easy... read more

In Memoriam, Bookseller and Author Patricia Ahearn

The antiquarian book world lost one of its nicest, most beloved figures this week with the passing of Patricia Ahearn,... read more

A Golden Age of Papermaking?

A couple of days ago, I received a number of questions from Gregory McNamee, a freelance writer who does book-related... read more

'Double Fold' at 10

Has it really been ten years since Nicholson Baker shook up the cozy world inhabited by librarians and conservators with... read more

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New Book By Nicholas Basbanes!

A major literary biography of America's best-loved nineteenth-century poet, the first in more than fifty years, and a much-needed reassessment for the twenty-first century of a writer whose stature and celebrity were unparalleled in his time, whose work helped to explain America's new world not only to Americans but to Europe and beyond. From the author of On Paper ("Buoyant" - The New Yorker; "Essential" - Publishers Weekly), Patience and Fortitude ("A wonderful hymn" - Simon Winchester), and A Gentle Madness ("A jewel" - David McCullough). 

In Cross of Snow, the result of more than twelve years of research, including access to never-before-examined letters, diaries, journals, notes, Nicholas Basbanes reveals the life, the times, the work - the soul - of the man who shaped the literature of a new nation with his countless poems, sonnets, stories, essays, translations, and whose renown was so wide-reaching that his deep friendships included Charles Dickens, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Julia Ward Howe, and Oscar Wilde.

Basbanes writes of the shaping of Longfellow's character, his huge body of work that included translations of numerous foreign works, among them, the first rendering into a complete edition by an American of Dante's Divine Comedy. We see Longfellow's two marriages, both happy and contented, each cut short by tragedy. His first to Mary Storer Potter that ended in the aftermath of a miscarriage, leaving Longfellow devastated. His second marriage to the brilliant Boston socialite—Fanny Appleton, after a three-year pursuit by Longfellow (his "fiery crucible" he called it), and his emergence as a literary force and a man of letters.

A portrait of a bold artist, experimenter of poetic form and an innovative translator—the human being that he was, the times in which he lived, the people whose lives he touched, his monumental work and its place in his America and ours.

Also by Nicholas Basbanes

The Definitive Edition

When first published, A Gentle Madness astounded and delighted readers about the passion and expense a collector is willing to make in pursuit of the book. Written before the emergence of the Internet but newly updated for the 21st Century reader, A Gentle Madness captures that last moment in time when collectors pursued their passions in dusty bookshops and street stalls, high stakes auctions, and the subterfuge worthy of a true bibliomaniac. An adventure among the afflicted, A Gentle Madness is vividly anecdotal and thoroughly researched. Nicholas Basbanes brings an investigative reporter's heart to illuminate collectors past and present in their pursuit of bibliomania. Now a timeless classic of collecting, no lover of books can miss A Gentle Madness.