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Alfred Lord Tennyson

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Carolyn Caza

on 9 June 2014

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Transcript of Alfred Lord Tennyson

Famous Quotes:
("10 Essential Quotes from Tennyson")
Tennyson's General Style and Innovation:
Early Life/Poetic Career-

AP Lit./Comp.
Poet Project
By: Carolyn Caza

"The Lady of Shalott"

"The Charge of the Light Brigade"
Literary Criticism
One of the most well-known poems in English the language.
Herbert Foltinek (1985)-
"As poet laureate, he might...have felt called upon to compose a tribute to the Queen's troops who had fought so bravely for a good cause."

Controversy over "Someone had blundered" line.
Criticism from an artistic point of view: The poems heavy-almost forced- meter and rhythm and its frequent use of repetition, may have detracted from the overall success of the poem.
However- "The poem's imagery captures the visual aspects of the battle."
"Most readers would agree that Tennyson's use of...poetic elements, and his mastery of word, sound, and image, make "The Charge of the Light Brigade" a moving and beautiful tribute to a disastrous historic event."
Arnold Markley: Assistant Professor in English at Penn State University, Media, PA. (essay Poetry for Students)

("The Charge of the Light Brigade")

Theme: Death, Human Faults
Society shown directly and indirectly:
"The Lady of Shalott"- Symbol of the artist in his society.
"The Charge of the Light Brigade"- Based on the failed charge of the British against the Russians during the Crimean War. Human error, bravery, and loyalty is expressed in the poem.
Lyrical Cadence and form.
Repetition at the end of the stanzas.
Use of rhythmic structures.
Tennyson Reading "The Charge of the Light Brigade"
Works Cited:
"Alfred, Lord Tennyson "The Charge of the Light Brigade"Wax Cylinder Poem Animation." YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 29 May 2014.

"Alfred Lord Tennyson Images." Google Images. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 May 2014. <http://www.google.com/search?q=Alfred+Lord+Tennyson+images&client=safari&rls=en&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=SPSHU5C1KejKsASjyoCQDQ&ved=0CAgQ_AUoAQ&biw=1230&bih=684>.

Landow, George P. "Tennyson's Poetic Project." Tennyson's Poetic Project. The Victorian Web, 20 Feb. 2010. Web. 19 May 2014.

"Lord Tennyson, Alfred." Gale Contextual Encyclopedia of World Literature. Vol. 4. Detroit: Gale, 2009. 1535-1539. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 20 May 2014.

Lord Tennyson, Alfred. ""Crossing the Bar"" Poemhunter.com. PoemHunter.Com - Thousands of Poems and Poets. Poetry Search Engine, n.d. Web. 26 May 2014

"Tennyson, Alfred (1809-1892)." Encyclopedia of World Biography. Detroit: Gale, 1998. Academic OneFile. Web. 14 May 2014.

"The Lady of Shalott." Poetry for Students. Ed. Anne Marie Hacht. Vol. 15. Detroit: Gale Group, 2002. 94-119. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 14 May 2014.

"The Charge of the Light Brigade." Poetry for Students. Ed. Marie Rose Napierkowski and Mary Ruby. Vol. 1. Detroit: Gale, 1998. 1-16. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 20 May 2014.

Timko, Michael. "Alfred, Lord Tennyson: Eminent Victorian." Opposing Viewpoints in Context. EBSCOhost. Web. 20 May 2014.

"10 Essential Quotes from Tennyson." BBC News. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 May 2014. <http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-12666869>
"The Lady of Shalott"


A ballad
Not equally broken down into stanzas, it is more like prose with sections similar to paragraphs.
Rhyme Scheme:
Brings attention to his rhymes by bringing the flow of words to a halt with punctuation at the end of most of the lines.
The poem is given, as an affect of the stress on rhyme, the feel of an ancient tale.
Iambic Tetrameter (Unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable, four feet to each line, total of eight syllables per line).
Up-and-down pattern similar to English speech results in the structure of the poem appearing very subtle.

("The Lady of Shalott")

"Crossing the Bar"

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.

Alfred Lord Tennyson
Tennyson's importance:
The Eminent Victorian
"Chief Representative of the Victorian age in poetry" (Timko, Michael).

Made statements about the time, or society, he lived in.
Dramatized the artist's strained relationship with society through mythic, parabolic narratives.
"The Lady of Shalott"- Attempt to find relation between the Victorian artist and audience (Landow, George P.).

His poetry touched Victorian readers, especially Queen Victoria.
University students read and quoted him.
Numerous writers in Great Britain and the U.S. were influenced by him:
T.S. Eliot
George Eliot
George Henry Lewes
Walt Whitman
("Lord Tennyson, Alfred")

Historical Time Period- Church vs. State caused intellectual and political turmoil in England (Reform Bill passed in 1832) ("Tennyson, Alfred (1809-1892)").
1830 & 1832: Published
Poems Chiefly Lyrical
, and
"The Lady of Shalott". Volumes inspired by his interest in the Romantic poets like Keats and Shelley (Timko, Michael).
1831- George Tennyson dies. Alfred's family is left in debt and he's forced to leave Trinity without a degree ("Lord Tennyson Alfred").
1833- Unexpectedly, Arthur Hallam dies ("Lord Tennsyon, Alfred").
Start of his "ten years silence" (Timko, Michael).
In Memoriam
(1850), a series of elegies in memory of Arthur.
Tennyson's son said, "In silence, obscurity, and solitude he perfected his art"(Timko, Michael).
1850- Married Emily Sellwood, and succeded William Wordsworth as Poet Laureate.
"poetic voice of his generation."
"people's poet"
Idylls of the King
(1859), and
Enoch Arden
Maud and Other Poems
(1855)- A melancholy "monodrama" that expresses some of the anxiety Tennyson experienced as a youth ("Lord Tennyson, Alfred").
Queen Victoria's favorite poet.
Wrote poems on all subjects, philosophic, scientific, and religious (Timko, Michael).

Harold Bloom- "He became an English institution, whether he wrote well or badly" (Timko, Michael).

Born: 1809 in Somersby, Lincolnshire, England.
Parents were Reverend George Clayton Tennyson and Elizabeth Fytche Tennyson ("Tennyson, Alfred (1809-1892)").
Lived in poverty
Dismal and unstable childhood- Result of father's drug and alcohol addiction, violent temper, and minor epilepsy.
Tennyson children suffered from some of these things or depression later in life ("Lord Tennyson, Alfred").
"Black blood" of the Tennysons ("The Lady of Shalott"). Some biographers believe his unhappy childhood may have been the inspiration for the "melancholy and morbidity" exhibited in many of his poems ("Lord Tennyson, Alfred").
Age 12: Epic poem of 6,000 lines, imitating the writings of Sir Walter Scott.
Age 14: Wrote the play,
The Devil and a Lady,
imitating Elizabethan comic verse.
Other models: Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley ("Tennyson, Alfred (1809-1892)").
Poems by Two Brothers
Attended Trinity College, Cambridge University.
1829- Joined Apostles discussion group, where he befriended Arthur Hallam.
Major financial trouble
Severe depression with medical treatment.
1837- Queen Victoria took the throne. Victorian Age- British society changes ("Lord Tennyson, Alfred").
Tennyson fell "into so severe a hypochondria that his friends despaired of his life" (Timko, Michael).
Wrote ambitiously into his old age
In his 60's he wrote plays-
Queen Mary
All about the "making of England", to create a sense of nationalism, and a reminder of England's separation from the Catholic church ("Tennyson, Alfred (1809-1892)").
Popular poems completed in the last decade of his life:
Ballads, and Other Poems
Tiresias, and Other Poems

Demeter, and Other Poems

Received a peerage in 1883 (barony). First poet to be given the honor specifically for his literary achievement ("Lord Tennyson, Alfred").
Became ill for the last two years of his life.
Died: October 6, 1892 (Aldworth, Surrey, England) ("Lord Tennyson, Alfred").
Buried in Westminster Abbey.
His poem "Crossing the Bar" was put to music and sung by a choir at his funeral ("Tennyson, Alfred (1809-1892)").
Last Years
"With this verse, and in contrast to it, is a strain of poetry in which Tennyson attempted deliberately to deal with the moral and social problems of the age, to assume a public role" (Timko, Michael).
Tennyson wanted to find a public use for poetry with one, division between the needs of self and of society, and two intense personal experiences. At the same time he wanted them to be morally and intellectually correspondent to the times....

Finally managed it with "The Lady of Shalott" and "The Palace of Art".

(Landow, George P.)
Wrote many
narrative poems
, such as the ones about King Arthur and the Round Table ("Tennyson, Alfred (1809-1892)").

Elizabethan songs, traditional ballads, poetry of the Romantics.

Lyrical Cadence-
Poetry marked by a Tennysonian "something"("Lord Tennyson, Alfred").

Poems- Many deal with a sense of division between the individual and society. Many intense personal experiences, such as his friend's death.

Poetic structure-
poetry; Strict separation of sections in his poetry. Poems have chronological order, achieved through parables, songs, visions, arguments, and actions (Landow, George P.).
Criticism of first works-
Jim Clark
All rights are reserved on this video recording copyright Jim Clark 2011
(Alfred Lord Tennyson, "The Charge of the Light Brigade" Wax Cylinder Poem animation- Youtube)
Alfred Lord Tennyson
(Alfred Lord Tennyson google images)
(Alfred Lord Tennyson and Family google images)
(Clock Tower Trinity College, Cambridge google images)
(Alfred Lord Tennyson gravestone Westminster Abbey google images)
(Statue of Alfred Lord Tennyson Trinity College, Cambridge google images)
(John Keats google images)
(Percy Bysshe Shelley google images)
(Arthur Hallam google images)
(Queen Victoria google images)
"Their's not to reply, / Their's not to reason why, / Their's but to do and die" - "The Charge of the Light Brigade"

"Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all" -
In Memoriam

"To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield" - Last line of "Ulysses"

"Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers" - Dramatic monologue "Locksley Hall"
(The Light Brigade, Crimean War google images)
Not easily classified by meter or rhythm structure.
(Dactyl) One stressed syllable followed by
unstressed syllables. He used two dactyls per line.
A foot consisting of a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable.
Dactyls combine with these to bring a series of lines to a "clipped halt" ("The Charge of the Light Brigade").
(Alfred Lord Tennyson google images)
Literary Criticism:
In "The Lady of Shalott" the Lady serves as a symbol for the artist. She is isolated in her tower, weaving a tapestry that depicts human life, which she only experiences vicariously through the mirror in her tower.

"This mythic poem embodies the way ordinary human needs destroy the artist."
-George P. Landow, Professor of English and Art History, Brown University

"It is one of the poet's 'happiest' pieces, not because of the subject matter...but because of Tennyson's skillful use of words."
-(1895) George Saintsbury

"There is such latent charm in mere words, cunning collocations, and in voice ringing in them, which [Tennyson] caught and has brought out, beyond all others."
-Walt Whitman

""The Lady of Shalott' shows how readily [Tennyson's language] can give access to that medieval dream world which attracted so many nineteenth-century writers and painters."
-(1974) Critic John D. Jump
("The Lady of Shalott" google images)
("The Lady of Shalott" google images)
("Crossing the Bar" Poemhunter.com)
Full transcript