By Sterling Professor of the Humanities Harold Bloom
Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-92) used to be born in Lincolnshire, the 6th of 11 teenagers of a priest. After a adolescence marked by way of trauma, he went as much as Cambridge in 1828, the place he met Arthur Hallam, whose untimely dying had an enduring effect on Tennyson's lifestyles and writing. His volumes of Poems (1842) demonstrated him because the top poet of his new release, and of the Victorian interval. He used to be created Poet Laureate in 1850 and in 1883 authorised a peerage. In T. S. Eliot's phrases, 'He has 3 characteristics that are seldom chanced on jointly other than within the maximum poets: abundance, sort and whole competence. He had the best ear of any English poet due to the fact Milton.'
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Extra info for Alfred, Lord Tennyson (Bloom's Classic Critical Views)
There is hardly a stanza in his writings but was introduced to serve some particular purpose, and could not be omitted 32 Alfred, Lord Tennyson without injury to the general effect. Everything has meaning. Every idea was won in a fair conflict with darkness, or dissonance, or gloom. The simplicity, the barrenness of ornament, in some of his lines, are as much the result of contrivance as his most splendid images. With what labor, for instance, with what attentive watching of consciousness, must the following stanza have been wrought into shape:— All those sharp fancies, by down-lapsing thought Streamed onward, lost their edges, and did creep, Rolled on each other, rounded, smoothed and brought Into the gulfs of sleep.
O the speculative sumph! ’Tis thus that dishonest Cockneys would fain pass off in their own vile slang, and for their own viler meaning, murdered and dismembered, the divine Homeric philosophy of the Isle of Circe. Was not Jupiter still Jove—aye, every inch the thunderous king of heaven, whose throne was Olympus—while to languishing Leda the godhead seemed a Swan? In the eyes of a grazier, who saw but Smithfield, he would have been but a bull in the Rape of Europa. Why, were the Cockney critic’s principle of thought injected by a strong volition into the skull of a donkey— has he vanity to imagine, for a moment, that he would be a more consummate ass than he now brays?
With what labor, for instance, with what attentive watching of consciousness, must the following stanza have been wrought into shape:— All those sharp fancies, by down-lapsing thought Streamed onward, lost their edges, and did creep, Rolled on each other, rounded, smoothed and brought Into the gulfs of sleep. This intense intellectual action is displayed in his delineations of nature and individual character, as well as in his subjective gropings into the refinements of his consciousness. In describing scenery, his microscopic eye and marvellously delicate ear are exercised to the utmost in detecting the minutest relations and most evanescent melodies of the objects before him, in order that his representation shall include everything which is important to their full perception.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson (Bloom's Classic Critical Views) by Sterling Professor of the Humanities Harold Bloom