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"First love" and "first friendship" may be "equal powers," but-despite Tennyson's own real-life engagement and marriage during the completion of In Memoriam-the poem's narrator never reaches "first love" at all, nor needs to reach it: the ideological power of Victorian domesticity is sufficiently present in the poem's language and settings. [...]mediating between the solely male developmental model of the Cambridge Apostles and the marital trajectory of domestic fiction, Tennyson symbolically links the political power of male friendship to the intimate affections of the Victorian home.
The Recovery of Friendship: Male Love and Developmental Narrative in Tennyson’s In Memoriam SARAH ROSE COLE I n July 1844, the barrister and journalist George Venables found a mys- terious volume in the Temple chambers that he shared with his lifelong friend Henry Lushington. As leading members of the Cambridge Apostles, the secret society whose “brethren” kept up their bonds long after their days of college debating, Venables and Lushington allowed their chambers to be used as an unofficial meeting ground for Cambridge men passing through London.1 Thus, Venables may not have been much surprised to discover that his bookshelf contained an apparently abandoned manuscript by his fellow Apostle, Alfred Tennyson. Stuck
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