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Caldo Verde Is Not Stone Soup

Persons, Names, Words, and Proverbs in Portuguese America


George Monteiro

Caldo Verde Is Not Stone Soup identifies elements of an emerging Portuguese American culture in the United States. The book discusses subjects and themes that reflect the richness and diversity of this culture. Included are analyses of the Portuguese fondness for nicknames over surnames, pejorative terms ("portugee," "Gee"), beau ideal heroes (John Philip Sousa, John Dos Passos, and Peter Francisco), now forgotten early emigrants, foreign visitors to the Azores (Samuel Longfellow and Thomas Wentworth Higginson), proverbs from the oral and literary traditions, the Portuguese sailor on American ships, and the saga of English As She Is Spoke, a serious-minded textbook that became a comic phenomenon.

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Chapter 7: Longfellow, Tutor to the Dabneys


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The Longfellow name remains prominent in accounts of nineteenth-century American culture. This is largely so because of the enormous fame achieved by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882), the poet whose work, especially Evangeline and Hiawatha, was known throughout Europe and the Americas. Less famous than the poet Henry, though of considerable reputation in his own right, was his brother Samuel Longfellow (1819–1892). This younger brother followed his calling as a Unitarian minister, and as such was hailed in his day by one writer as one of the United States’ five living “prophets.”1 It was as a young man, however, long before he became famous for his sermons and hymns, that Samuel Longfellow had his contact with the Azores. A Harvard College graduate in 1939 and while a student at the Harvard Divinity School, Sam spent just over a year in Fayal, before returning to his studies. It was during his stay in the Azores that his brother Henry asked for his aid, writing on January 12, 1844:

I am publishing a book, a collection of translations from various European languages, to the number of 10, the translations by various hands—and a few of my own. If you have found anything pretty in the Portuguese, pray let me have it. Have you translated anything yet? Dont neglect this opportunity of learning the language thorough. You ought to speak it muito bem by this...

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