Alfred, lord tennyson (1809 1892)3


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Alfred, lord tennyson (1809 1892)3

  1. 1. Week Twelve Alfred, Lord Tennyson ‘Ulysses’
  2. 2. T.S. Eliot on Tennyson <ul><li>“ Tennyson is a great poet, for reasons that are perfectly clear. He has three qualities which are seldom found together except in the greatest poets: abundance, variety, and complete competence. […] We may not admire his aims: but whatever he sets out to do, he succeeds in doing.” </li></ul>
  3. 3. T.S. Eliot on Tennyson <ul><li>“ In Memoriam would not be a great poem, or Tennyson a great poet, without the technical accomplishment. Tennyson is a great master of metric as well as of melancholia; I do not think any poet in English has ever had a finer ear for vowel sound, as well as a subtler feeling for some moods of anguish.” </li></ul>
  4. 4. Task One: Technical Analysis <ul><li>Quickly summarise the underlying metrical pattern of the first stanza. </li></ul><ul><li>Tennyson claimed to know “the quantity of the sounds of every English word except perhaps scissors .” </li></ul><ul><li>Any evidence to support that claim here? </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>      1 It little profits that an idle king, </li></ul><ul><li>          By this still hearth, among these barren crags, </li></ul><ul><li>          Match'd with an aged wife, I mete and dole </li></ul><ul><li>          Unequal laws unto a savage race, </li></ul><ul><li>    5 That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Task Two <ul><li>Which qualities of the following passage (lines 18-23) might account for its being so well known? </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>I am a part of all that I have met; </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Gleams that untraveled world whose margin fades </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>For ever and for ever when I move. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How dull it is to pause, to make an end, </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>To rust unburnished, not to shine in use! </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Is ‘Ulysses’: <ul><li>a) a stirring and courageous call to the spirit of adventure? </li></ul><ul><li>b) an old man’s bitter and resentful abnegation of social responsibility? </li></ul><ul><li>c) a dialectic in which the poet weighs up the relative merits of the active against the contemplative life? </li></ul><ul><li>d) an ironically contradictory poem, owing to the poet’s own inconsistent character? </li></ul><ul><li>e) a touching response to the ironies of life that Tennyson recognised following the death of his friend Arthur Hallam? </li></ul><ul><li>f) an imperialistic gesture from a deeply patriotic individual? </li></ul><ul><li>g) a bittersweet remembrance of things past? </li></ul>
  8. 8. Task Three <ul><li>In pairs/threes, analyse ‘Ulysses’ in its entirety in support of whichever statement you consider most apt. </li></ul><ul><li>Be prepared to support your reading with substantive textual evidence. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Discussion <ul><li>In the light of your work today, what arguments might be made for Tennyson’s status as an apparently ‘great’ poet? </li></ul><ul><li>In what does this ‘greatness’ consist? </li></ul>