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					Alfred Lord Tennyson


1809 - 1892
Tennyson - Timeline
1809 -- Born at Somersby rectory,
   Lincolnshire, fourth son of the rector.
   1827 -- Poems by Two Brothers with        1850 -- In Memoriam published
   Charles and Edward.                          anonymously.
   -- Enters Trinity College, Cambridge.        -- Marries Emily Sellwood.
   1829 -- Friendship with Arthur Henry         -- Appointed Poet Laureate.
   Hallam.                                      1852 -- Son Hallam born.
   -- Member of the "Apostles," a group of      1853 -- Moves to Farringford, Isle of
   young men, at Cambridge.                     Wight.
   -- Receives chancellor's Gold Medal for      1854 -- Son Lionel born.
   prize poem "Timbuctoo".                      1855 -- Maud; a Monodrama
   1830 -- Poems Chiefly Lyrical                published.
   published.                                   1859 -- Idylls of the King published.
   1831 -- Father dies.                         1862 -- New edition of Idylls
   -- Hallam reviews of Poems Chiefly           dedicated to the memory of Prince
   Lyrical.                                     Albert.
   1832 -- Poems published.                     -- Has first audience with Queen
   -- His brother Edward goes insane.           Victoria.
   1833 -- Hallam dies.                         1869 -- The Holy Grail and Other
   1838 -- Engaged to Emily Sellwood.           Poems published.
   1840 -- Engagement broken off.               1872 -- Verse novelettes Gareth and
   -- Family moves to Tunbridge Wells.          Lynette published.
   1842 -- Poems revised; his fame              1875 -- Queen Mary, a play,
   established.                                 published.
   1843 -- Entire fortune, 3500 pounds,         1880 -- Ballads and Other Poems
   lost on a project to make wood               published.
   carvings by steam, and his brothers and      1881 -- The Cup produced, starring
   sisters lose an additional                   Henry Irving and Ellen Terry.
   8,000 pounds.                                1883 -- Accepts barony.
   1844 -- Has an emotional breakdown.          1885 -- Tiresias and Other Poems
   1845 -- Receives Civil List pension of       published.
   200 pounds/year.                             1886 -- Locksley Hall Sixty Years
   1847 -- "The Princess" published.            After published.
   1849 -- Renews correspondence with           -- Son Lionel dies.
   Emily Sellwood.                              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

				
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