Alfred Tennyson: The Critical Legacy (Literary Criticism in by Laurence W. Mazzeno

By Laurence W. Mazzeno

Alfred Tennyson: The severe Legacy explores the critics' response to the paintings of the nineteenth-century English poet such a lot heavily linked to the Victorian period. maybe greater than the other Victorian poet, Tennyson's acceptance has waxed and waned within the century when you consider that his dying. He has been on the other hand sanctified and vilified for his number of material, social outlook, morality, or innovations of versification. His acceptance has weathered even the main vitriolic makes an attempt to discredit either the fellow and his writings; and as feedback of the overdue 20th century demonstrates, Tennyson's declare to pre-eminence one of the Victorians is now unchallenged. Laurence Mazzeno starts off this narrative research of Tennyson feedback with an examine how Tennyson used to be appeared by way of his contemporaries, earlier than launching a close exam of twentieth-century feedback. A bankruptcy is dedicated to the interval instantly following Tennyson's loss of life, while a new release of post-Victorians reacted violently opposed to what they thought of his sappy sentimentalism, cloying moralism, and insensitive jingoism. next chapters describe how critics resurrected Tennyson, highlighting either his technical mastery and his social feedback. targeted cognizance is given to significant biographers and critics akin to Harold Nicolson, the poet's grandson Sir Charles Tennyson, Jerome Buckley, R. B. Martin, Michael Thorn, and Peter Levi. a last bankruptcy makes a speciality of the methods Tennyson and his paintings were addressed by way of poststructuralist critics. through the research, Mazzeno demonstrates that the critics' response to Tennyson unearths as a lot approximately themselves and the severe prejudices in their personal occasions because it does concerning the Victorian Laureate and his poetry.

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Charles Tennyson, Alfred Tennyson, 141). For a thorough account of the activities of this debating and social club, see Peter Allen, The Cambridge Apostles: The Early Years (1978) and John Coyle and Richard Cronin, “Tennyson and the Apostles” (2000). 5 The best accounts of the composition and organization of In Memoriam are those by Eleanor Mattes, In Memoriam: The Way of a Soul, 1951, and Susan Shatto and Marian Shaw, Introduction, In Memoriam, 1982. Both Shannon, Tennyson and the Reviewers, and Eidson discuss the ten-years’ silence at length, as does Joyce Green, “Tennyson’s Development during the Ten-Years’ Silence (1832–42)” (1951).

Throughout, Brooke maintains a sense of critical distance from his subject, and though his presuppositions may exhibit Victorian tendencies, his method is a precursor to twentieth-century critical analysis. His conclusion about Tennyson’s staying power, however, seems out of place in his own day, when books and articles attacking the laureate’s work were already in great supply. “The permanence of the work of Tennyson is secure,” he asserts at the end of his study (509). From the perspective of another century he may have been right, but it would be a half-century before all of Tennyson’s major works received the acclaim implied in Brooke’s sweeping judgment.

He is critical of Tennyson for his portrait of women in The Princess not because the poet finds women different from men, but because Tennyson ascribes too much hope for their ascendancy as men’s equals. “Probably the ‘educational movement’ will not make much difference to womankind on the whole,” Lang observes, except in rare cases of genius. There is nothing remarkable, therefore, in his assessment that “Guinevere” is “the greatest of the Idylls,” and that this poem is Tennyson’s crowning achievement.

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