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Tennyson Tennyson Presentation Transcript

  • Alfred Lord Tennyson 1809 - 1892
  • Tennyson - Timeline
    • 1809 -- Born at Somersby rectory, Lincolnshire, fourth son of the rector. 1827 -- Poems by Two Brothers with Charles and Edward. -- Enters Trinity College, Cambridge. 1829 -- Friendship with Arthur Henry Hallam. -- Member of the "Apostles," a group of young men, at Cambridge. -- Receives chancellor's Gold Medal for prize poem "Timbuctoo". 1830 -- Poems Chiefly Lyrical published. 1831 -- Father dies. -- Hallam reviews of Poems Chiefly Lyrical . 1832 -- Poems published. -- His brother Edward goes insane. 1833 -- Hallam dies. 1838 -- Engaged to Emily Sellwood. 1840 -- Engagement broken off. -- Family moves to Tunbridge Wells. 1842 -- Poems revised; his fame established. 1843 -- Entire fortune, 3500 pounds, lost on a project to make wood carvings by steam, and his brothers and sisters lose an additional 8,000 pounds. 1844 -- Has an emotional breakdown. 1845 -- Receives Civil List pension of 200 pounds/year. 1847 -- "The Princess" published. 1849 -- Renews correspondence with Emily Sellwood.
    • 1850 -- In Memoriam published anonymously. -- Marries Emily Sellwood. -- Appointed Poet Laureate. 1852 -- Son Hallam born. 1853 -- Moves to Farringford, Isle of Wight. 1854 -- Son Lionel born. 1855 -- Maud ; a Monodrama published. 1859 -- Idylls of the King published. 1862 -- New edition of Idylls dedicated to the memory of Prince Albert. -- Has first audience with Queen Victoria. 1869 -- The Holy Grail and Other Poems published. 1872 -- Verse novelettes Gareth and Lynette published. 1875 -- Queen Mary , a play, published. 1880 -- Ballads and Other Poems published. 1881 -- The Cup produced, starring Henry Irving and Ellen Terry. 1883 -- Accepts barony. 1885 -- Tiresias and Other Poems published. 1886 -- Locksley Hall Sixty Years After published. -- Son Lionel dies. 1892 -- Dies.
  • Brief Biography
    • Alfred Tennyson was born August 6th, 1809, at Somersby, Lincolnshire:
      • Parents: George and Elizabeth (Fytche) Tennyson.
        • fourth of twelve children
    • Grandfather made his younger uncle heir and skipped over Tennyson’s father
      • Wanted George to enter ministry
      • Not impoverished, but the sight of his uncle living in a castle made Alfred worry about money all his life
    • Lifelong fear of mental illness
      • several men in his family had a mild form of epilepsy
        • thought a shameful disease.
      • His father and brother Arthur made their cases worse by excessive drinking
        • Father became paranoid and abusive and violent in the late 1820s
      • brother Edward had to be confined in a mental institution after 1833
    • 1827 Tennyson he followed his two older brothers to Trinity College, Cambridge
    • 1829 - The Apostles
      • an undergraduate club
      • remainedTennyson's friends all his life
      • met to discuss major philosophical and other issues
  • Bio - Hallam
    • Arthur Hallam
      • most important of these friendships.
        • knew each other only four years
        • intense friendship had major influence on the poet
      • Hallam met and later became engaged to Emily Tennyson
        • the two friends looked forward to a life-long companionship
        • 1833 Hallam's death from illness at 22
          • shocked Tennyson profoundly
            • grief lead to most of his best poetry:
            • In Memorium
            • “ Passing of Arthur”
            • “ Ulysses”
            • “ Tithonus
  • Bio - Conclusion
    • Late 1830s: Mental Health worries:
      • visited a sanitarium
      • 1844 as an emotional breakdown.
    • 1842 Poems a success
      • Made him popular
      • 1845 Gained a Civil List (government) pension of £200 a year
    • 1850:
      • Married Emily Sellwood
      • made Poet Laureate
        • Declined it several times until the Queen herself begged him to accept
        • Made his the most popular poet of the Victorian era.
        • Even Prince Albert (a big fan) would sometimes drop by unannounced
    • Long-lived like most of his family (no matter how unhealthy they seemed
      • Tennyson died on October 6, 1892, at the age of 83.
  • Themes
    • Having faith and Keeping faith
      • Faith and loyalty are essential
      • Keeping them is hard
        • tenuous
        • Subjective
        • irrational
    • men and their societies must be founded on many faiths:
      • between ruler and ruled
      • man and woman to each other
      • worshipper and God
      • In and to one’s self
  • Themes
    • Tennyson is sceptical about man's capacity to have and keep faith:
      • the destruction of an ideal when men do not keep faith:
        • "The Passing of Arthur,“
          • makes it quite clear how the Round Table failed
          • offers some cause for hope:
            • presents the trials, triumphs, and conversion of the ordinary man:
            • Sir Bedivere.
  • Themes
    • The problem of Science:
    • In this matter, Tennyson is a typical Victorian:
      • deep interest in contemporary science vs. an unorthodox, often contradictory, Christian belief.
    • Tennysonian ideas of evolution:
      • Ie: passage from “Idylls…”:
      • The old order changeth, yielding place to new, And God fulfills Himself in many ways, Lest one good custom should corrupt the world,
  • Themes
    • A nearly self-conscious sense of public responsibility:
      • Example : “Charge of the Light Brigade”
        • "an eagerness [on the part of British public opinion] to find heroes in a wasteful war.
        • a victory for courage rather than a defeat through stupidity and blunder
      • Tennyson’s account:
        • "was written after reading the first report of the Times correspondent . . . my poem is dactylic, and founded on the phrase, 'Some one had blundered.' " (Poems, II, 369).
        • Tennyson made it quite clear that the charge was the result of someone's foolish mistake,
          • Public nonetheless took it as a great piece of poetic glorification
  • Did You Know?
    • Tennyson was extremely near-sighted
    • He had trouble even seeing to eat without the aid of a monocle
    • Would compose most of his work in his head
    • Would only write them down at the urging of others