His early works were criticized as trivial and introspective by a generation raised to appreciate the poetry of the 2 ♦ INTRODUCTION Augustans and Sir Walter Scott. He is especially enthusiastic about the English idylls, which he calls “a real addition to our literature” (Jump 122).
While this book still serves as a useful guide to understanding individual poems, Marshall’s work was supplanted in INTRODUCTION ♦ 3 less than a decade by one of the great achievements of twentieth-century editing, Christopher Ricks’s The Poems of Tennyson (1969). Reaction to the poem was almost universally favorable. As the century closed, a new generation was finding fault not only with his artistry but also with what they considered his priggish morality, while those who were growing old with him continued to treat him with the reverence accorded to sages and saints. Having expressed confidence in Tennyson’s poetic powers more than a decade earlier (Tatler, February 1831), he encourages Tennyson to outgrow his boyish desire for unqualified praise (128). Horne acknowledges this explicitly in A New Spirit of the Age (1844) when he awards Tennyson “the title of a true poet of the highest class of genius” (153). Fox, Mill, Hunt, Sterling, and certainly Hallam and Spedding all express their belief that Tennyson’s early efforts would not be his best. For a half-century after his death, his reputation suffered the same fate as other Victorians at the hands of their children and grandchildren who found the promises of optimism and belief in progress demolished and dispelled by the tragedy of world war and the emergence of modernism. Hunt’s balanced critique indicates that the tide was turning in the poet’s favor. Horne is among the earliest to notice a characteristic that later critics, including T. Eliot, would highlight in describing Tennyson’s limitations: while he can be “intensely tragic” and display “great power of concentration,” he “is not at all dramatic” (Jump 160). They predicted that, once he turned to loftier subjects, he would produce works that 4 would rank with the greatest in the language. “Tennyson’s Parable of Soul Making: A Jungian Reading of The Princess.” In CUNY English Forum. His poems are renowned for, among other things, their bold...This content was uploaded by our users and we assume good faith they have the permission to share this book. Literary criticism in perspective) Includes bibliographical references and index. James Hood of Guilford College, who read the draft of this volume with critical acumen, has helped me immensely, though he is certainly not responsible for any errors or faulty judgments that remain. Having put Croker in his place, Mill enumerates the good qualities he finds in Tennyson’s poems, claiming they display beyond question that Tennyson has a “poetic temperament”; the volumes of 18 show that he is mastering his craft (92). The rise in the Victorians’ reputation during the middle of the twentieth century saw a concurrent rise in Tennyson’s stature, though the hostile trends latecentury critics displayed toward more politically conservative Victorian writers has had an effect on the Victorian laureate’s reputation. Horne is perceptive, too, in recognizing that, although little acknowledged in earlier reviews, “Ulysses” is “one of the most exquisite . In fact, many of these reviewers challenged the poet to become more of a teacher and less a melancholy lyricist. At the same time, some of his poems have risen or fallen in stature — a trend reflecting as much on the tastes of the twentieth century as it does on Tennyson. John Forster, writing in the Examiner in 1842, expresses these TENNYSON AMONG HIS CONTEMPORARIES: 1827–1892 ♦ 15 thoughts succinctly: “we think that he would find himself able to fly a higher flight than lyric, idyl, or eclogue, and we counsel him to try it” (Shannon, Tennyson, 62). The poetry of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, is among the greatest of English literature.Many of his poems are mainstays of literature courses, and most have attracted copious critical attention.Alfred Tennyson: The Critical Legacy focuses on ways critics have approached Tennyson’s poetry and judgments they have made about his work. Unfortunately, the first of Tennyson’s long poems did not produce the reaction his champions had predicted. Such a book is possible because so much has been written about Tennyson, and so much scholarly work has been done to provide authentic texts and detailed biographical information. The Princess (1847, 1850), a medley told by several contemporary young men and women about a medieval prince’s conquest of a proto-feminist princess, met with what can best be described as mixed reviews.