Tennyson's Characters

Tennyson's Characters

"Strange Faces, Other Minds"

Powered by Google
Get permissions
333 pages

"An original, cogent, soundly organized, and well-supported study of Tennyson's entire career…at once convincing and fruitful."—Linda K. Hughes

Scholars since Paden have commented on the anxieties embedded in Tennyson's poetry, but this is the first study to examine them systematically. Within each poem Goslee discovers a vulnerable authorial presence threatened by some Other—a personification of divine, sexual, or natural power—which encroaches upon it from the fringes of the poem's imaginative universe. This Other is always interpreted, humanized, or conciliated by some mediating figure, yet the more effectively the mediator confronts an otherwise alien cosmos, the more alien he or she becomes to the authorial presence.

Goslee's approach toward understanding the conflict between Tennyson and the characters he creates includes elements of formalism, psychodynamics, and literary history without being narrowly confined to any one of these. His subtle, elegant reading mediates between those critics who stress authorial intention (e.g., Reed's Perception and Design) and the growing number of critics who follow E. D. H. Johnson in claiming that Tennyson wrote more subversively than he wanted to admit. This original, highly suggestive volume will be important for all Victorian scholars and literary critics.

Table of contents: 




1. The Adolescent Poems

2. The 1830 Volume and The Lover’s Tale

3. The 1832 Volume

4. The 1842 Volume

5. In Memoriam

6. The Princess

7. Maud

8. The 1859 Idylls of the King

9. Longer Poems of the 1860s

10. The 1869 Idylls

11. The Last Idylls

12. Some Late Poems and “Merlin”