As the principal narrative poem of nineteenth-century England, Tennyson's Idylls of the King is an ambitious and widely influential reworking of the Arthurian legends of the Middle Ages, which have provided a great body of myth and symbol to writers, painters, and composers for the past hundred years. Tennyson's treatment of these legends is now valued as a deeply significant oblique commentary on cultural decadence and the precarious balance of civilization. Drawing upon published and unpublished materials, Tennyson's Camelot studies the Idylls of the King from the perspective of all its medieval sources. In noting the Arthurian literature Tennyson knew and paying special attention to the works that became central to his Arthurian creation, the volume reveals the poet's immense knowledge of the medieval legends and his varied approaches to his sources. The author follows the chronology of composition of the Idylls, allowing the reader to see Tennyson's evolving conception of his poem and his changing attitudes to the medieval accounts. The Idylls of the King stands, ultimately, as the poet's own Camelot, his legacy to his generation, an indictment of his society through a vindication of his idealism.
Alternative approaches have emerged which have radically altered our understanding of Tennyson's poetry and his relationship to the Victorian age. This text covers the most significant areas of new work on Tennyson, effectively linking feminist and gender studies with deconstructive, psychoanalytic and linguistic attention. The Introduction discusses ways in which orthodox critical approaches have dominated readings of Tennyson's poetry and provides a critical overview of the radical reappraisal of his work. It also provides a guide to the varied ways in which these new debates have shaped and are shaping themselves, with a final discussion of the future directions which Tennyson criticism is likely to take. The essays chosen cover and reflect a range of modes of critical enquiry compelling in themselves.
Published in 1850, In Memoriam won its author the Poet Laureateship of Britain and received widespread attention from critics and reviewers, as well as from ordinary readers. The poem was written in memory of Tennyson’s close friend Arthur Henry Hallam, who died suddenly in 1833; it became an unofficial devotional manual for mourners, including Queen Victoria after the death of Prince Albert. The poem’s scope goes beyond individual grief, however, to the development and extinction of species, audaciously exploring history, evolution, and God’s relationship with humanity. Its formal beauty and emotional resonance make In Memoriam as compelling today as it was for nineteenth-century readers. Matthew Rowlinson’s introduction traces the poem’s composition history and places it in the context of Tennyson’s personal and intellectual development. Historical appendices include writings by Arthur Hallam, Victorian fiction on courtship and marriage, and materials on natural history and evolution.
Comparative literature by Marjorie Moreland BOWDEN
Gathered together for the first time, the essays in this volume were selected to give scholars ready access to important late-twentieth and early twenty-first-century contributions to scholarship on the Romantic period and twentieth-century literature and culture. Included are Charles J. Rzepka's award-winning essays on Keats's 'Chapman's Homer' sonnet and Wordsworth's 'Michael' and his critical intervention into anachronistic new historicist readings of the circumstances surrounding the composition of "Tintern Abbey." Other Romantic period essays provide innovative interpretations of De Quincey's relation to theatre and the anti-slavery movement. Genre is highlighted in Rzepka's exploration of race and region in Charlie Chan, while his interdisciplinary essay on The Wizard of Oz and the New Woman takes the reader on a journey that encompasses the Oz of L. Frank Baum and Victor Fleming as well as the professional lives of Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli. Taken together, the essays provide not only a career retrospective of an influential scholar and teacher but also a map of the innovations and controversies that have influenced literary studies from the early 1980s to the present. As Peter Manning observes in his foreword, "this collection shows that even in diverse essays the force of a curious and disciplined mind makes itself felt."