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By Laurence W. Mazzeno

Alfred Tennyson: The severe Legacy explores the critics' response to the paintings of the nineteenth-century English poet so much heavily linked to the Victorian period. probably greater than the other Victorian poet, Tennyson's attractiveness has waxed and waned within the century considering that his loss of life. He has been however sanctified and vilified for his collection of material, social outlook, morality, or thoughts of versification. His acceptance has weathered even the main vitriolic makes an attempt to discredit either the guy and his writings; and as feedback of the overdue 20th century demonstrates, Tennyson's declare to pre-eminence one of the Victorians is now unchallenged. Laurence Mazzeno starts this narrative research of Tennyson feedback with an examine how Tennyson used to be seemed via his contemporaries, earlier than launching a close exam of twentieth-century feedback. A bankruptcy is dedicated to the interval instantly following Tennyson's dying, while a new release of post-Victorians reacted violently opposed to what they thought of his sappy sentimentalism, cloying moralism, and insensitive jingoism. next chapters describe how critics resurrected Tennyson, highlighting either his technical mastery and his social feedback. particular consciousness is given to significant biographers and critics reminiscent of Harold Nicolson, the poet's grandson Sir Charles Tennyson, Jerome Buckley, R. B. Martin, Michael Thorn, and Peter Levi. a last bankruptcy makes a speciality of the methods Tennyson and his paintings were addressed by way of poststructuralist critics. through the research, Mazzeno demonstrates that the critics' response to Tennyson unearths as a lot approximately themselves and the severe prejudices in their personal instances because it does in regards to the Victorian Laureate and his poetry.

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Additional info for Alfred Tennyson: The Critical Legacy (Literary Criticism in Perspective)

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The age of Tennyson! The notion is, of course, preposterous” (310). To accord Tennyson the mantle of greatness simply assures the Victorians that they will be “scoffed at in less partial times as a parcel of indiscriminating dunces” (311). Austin was the first of a group that would come to be known as “Reactionaries,” critics who argued that Tennyson did not deserve the accolades of great poet, teacher, and sage that many Victorians had bestowed on him. Over the next century, many would follow Austin’s 6 lead, but none would be more strident.

While praising Tennyson for taking up the issue, he acknowledges that by the end of the century, his idea that men and women share separate, complementary, but unequal talents is outdated. His two chapters on In Memoriam offer enlightening commentary on the structure of the poem, and certainly form the basis for A. C. Bradley’s later, more extensive study. He devotes more than a quarter of his book to Idylls of the King, offering sensible analysis that runs counter to the detailed studies of the allegory that Victorians found so inspiring.

He expresses what so many of his Victorian colleagues felt: “The death of Alfred Tennyson seemed almost in a sense to bring the history of English poetry to a close” (125). Throughout the 1890s, sketches of the poet’s life and career appeared in books and periodicals. William Canton’s “Tennyson” in David Masson’s In the Footsteps of the Poets (1893) is representative of such essays, which were often intended to explain the poet’s popularity. Joseph Jacobs’s chapter on Tennyson in Literary Studies (1895) does much the same thing, but with an A MIXED LEGACY: 1892–1916 ♦ 35 important caveat.

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