By Laurence W. Mazzeno
Alfred Tennyson: The serious Legacy explores the critics' response to the paintings of the nineteenth-century English poet such a lot heavily linked to the Victorian period. possibly greater than the other Victorian poet, Tennyson's recognition has waxed and waned within the century in view that his dying. He has been then again sanctified and vilified for his number of subject material, social outlook, morality, or thoughts of versification. His popularity has weathered even the main vitriolic makes an attempt to discredit either the guy and his writings; and as feedback of the past due 20th century demonstrates, Tennyson's declare to pre-eminence one of the Victorians is now unchallenged. Laurence Mazzeno starts this narrative research of Tennyson feedback with an examine how Tennyson was once seemed 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 demise, while a iteration 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. precise realization is given to significant biographers and critics reminiscent of 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 means of poststructuralist critics. in the course of the research, Mazzeno demonstrates that the critics' response to Tennyson unearths as a lot approximately themselves and the severe prejudices in their personal instances because it does concerning the Victorian Laureate and his poetry.
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Extra resources for Alfred Tennyson: The Critical Legacy (Literary Criticism in Perspective)
Brooke’s interpretations of individual poems are representative of Victorian approaches to Tennyson’s work. ” While praising Tennyson for taking up the issue, he acknowledges that by the end of the century, his idea that men and women share separate, complementary, but unequal talents is outdated. His two chapters on In Memoriam offer enlightening commentary on the structure of the poem, and certainly form the basis for A. C. Bradley’s later, more extensive study. He devotes more than a quarter of his book to Idylls of the King, offering sensible analysis that runs counter to the detailed studies of the allegory that Victorians found so inspiring.
The poet himself deserves to be thought of, Gwynn says, in the same circle as Spenser, Milton, Pope, Dryden — and even Shakespeare. Like Gwynn, Evan Cuthbertson offers a favorable assessment of both the poet’s life and works in Tennyson: The Story of his Life (1898), a brief sketch based on Hallam Tennyson’s Memoir, intended to highlight the poet’s legacy to succeeding generations. Though “the days to come” will be the “wisest witness” to the question of Tennyson’s “rank in the hierarchy of Parnassus” (127), Cuthbertson has no doubt about what ought to happen over the next century.
With such sentiments running high, it is no wonder that the publishing house of Chatto & Windus would bring out a full-length biography of the poet in 1884. Written by Henry J. Jennings, author of biographies of contemporary figures, Lord Tennyson: A Biographical Sketch, is typical of the genre in Victorian England. Focusing more on reminiscences by Tennyson’s friends — the enlarged edition of 1892, published shortly after Tennyson’s death, is even more generous in offering such personal recollections — Jennings is high on praise and only grudgingly willing to acknowledge criticism.