Alfred Tennyson: A Literary Life by Leonee Ormond

By Leonee Ormond

Throughout his lengthy operating existence, Tennyson used to be experimenting with new varieties and topics. extensively learn in more than a few disciplines, he responsed to a number of the personalities, occasions and discoveries of the Victorian age. nonetheless broadly considered as an apologist for the 'establishment', Tennyson used to be continually an interloper. Scourged by means of reviewers, and haunted via his personal apprehensive disposition, Tennyson persevered years of depression. even if the tide became in 1850 Tennyson remained a stern critic of his contemporaries.

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Tennyson was by no means an easy author to handle. There were lengthy delays at the proof stage, while the poet altered lines, and, for all Hallam's remonstrances, removed 'The Lover's Tale'. Poems was finally published in December 1832. As with Poems, Chiefly Lyrical, the edition was not a best-seller. Of the 450 copies printed, only 300 had been sold two years later. The contents of the new volume were well known to Tennyson's friends, who had heard them declaimed. 'The Palace of Art' was evidently inspired by discussions among them about the value of 45 Arthur Hallam poetry in general.

The friends left Paris shortly before the three day 'July Revolution' which brought Louis Philippe to the throne, an event which stimulates no comment in their surviving letters. From Paris, they travelled south by coach, through Poitiers, and then across the high ground of central France to reach Montpellier, near the Mediterranean coast, where they were delayed by illness. After Montpellier came Narbonne and Perpignan, before they branched off inland towards the Pyrenees. Tennyson's response to the southern scenery he now experienced for the first time is to be found in his poem, 'Mariana in the South'.

I did not think he seemed much to like it. I then suggested Physic or some other Profession. He seemed to think the Church the best and has I think finally made up his mind to it' (Letters, I, 59). A degree was of little importance to Alfred, who had no intention of becoming a clergyman. Before the summons home, he had so little hope of passing the examinations that he wondered whether his poor eyesight might allow him to apply for an aegrotat. Abruptly taken away from his friends, however, and thrust back into the constricting world of the rectory, a return to the University offered the means of escape.

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