This book provides a valuable introduction for students and other readers of Tennyson's poetry and presents an account of its major themes and concerns. Elaine Jordan examines Tennyson's uneasy position as a writer of the male middle-class ascendancy and shows how his poetry reveals ambivalent attitudes towards manliness, war, and nineteenth-century scientific rationality. In his early Idylls she finds him experimenting with different political attitudes, investigating the relationship between individual happiness and general progress; in his monologues he is caught between motion and stasis, calling into question the Romantic quest to integrate the language of self with its object; in The Princess he addresses contemporary debates on the role and status of women; his In Memoriam explores loss and relationship through images of the body and questions of language; Maud deals with images of masculinity and femininity in relation to to violence and sexual love; and Idylls of the King, his most imperialist and most pessimistic poem, highlights his regard for intuition and vision in the face of scientific 'laws' of nature and society. The study introduces these themes and shows how they relate to each other.
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Monologues and metonymy
mimicry and metamorphosis
some wild Poet
Maud or the madness
Idylls of the King
Arthur becomes beginning body brother called claim classical close comes concern contrast criticism dark Daughter dead death desire early effect emotion example experience face father fear feeling feminine final frame give golden ground Guinevere Hallam hand heart human idea ideal Idyls imagination influence interest kind King Lady Lancelot language light limits lines living lyric manuscript Mariana marriage masculine Maud means Memoriam mind mood mother moving natural offered original painting past poem poem's poet poetry political possible present Prince Princess problem produced published question reader relation represented response Ricks seems seen sense social song speaker stanza story suggests Tennyson things thinking thought tion Tiresias touch turned Ulysses vision voice whole woman women writing
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