Download Alfred Tennyson: A Literary Life by Leonee Ormond PDF

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By Leonee Ormond

Throughout his lengthy operating existence, Tennyson was once experimenting with new varieties and topics. broadly learn in quite a number disciplines, he responsed to the various personalities, occasions and discoveries of the Victorian age. nonetheless largely considered as an apologist for the 'establishment', Tennyson was once regularly an interloper. Scourged via reviewers, and haunted by way of his personal fearful disposition, Tennyson continued years of melancholy. even if the tide became in 1850 Tennyson remained a stern critic of his contemporaries.

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Tennyson's preoccupation with death, desolation and frustration is characteristic of women writing at this period. He not only adapted their female persona, but in time appropriated most of their public. The immediate problem for him, however, was how to make a mark and be noticed by the reviewers. Well educated and well read, reviewers of the 1830s were not specialists. There was little analysis of poetic technique and style, certainly not the refined apparatus of literary criticism which has evolved today.

14 The climate and country reminded the poet too much of home. 14 James Spedding said of Tennyson that he 'was a man always discontented with the Present till it has become the Past, and then he yearns towards it, and worships it, and not only worships it, but is discontented because it is past'. 15 This characteristic helps to explain the warmth with which Tennyson writes of the Rhine in In Memoriam XCVIII: You leave us: you will see the Rhine, And those fair hills I sailed below, When I was there with him; and go By summer belts of wheat and vine ....

145-8) The note of finality struck by the death of the Lady of Shalott is unusual in Tennyson's early poems. Sometimes the well-informed reader can supply an ending. Those who know Homer will understand that Troy will burn, that the Lotus Eaters will be dragged away from the seductions of drugged inactivity. The world of action, which the sailors emphatically reject, is about to claim them again, and their very emphasis upon ease is denied by the rhythmic vigour with which they profess its alternative.

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