By Sterling Professor of the Humanities Harold Bloom
Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-92) used to be born in Lincolnshire, the 6th of 11 young ones of a priest. After a early life marked through trauma, he went as much as Cambridge in 1828, the place he met Arthur Hallam, whose untimely demise had an enduring impression on Tennyson's existence and writing. His volumes of Poems (1842) tested him because the best poet of his new release, and of the Victorian interval. He was once created Poet Laureate in 1850 and in 1883 authorised a peerage. In T. S. Eliot's phrases, 'He has 3 features 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 because Milton.'
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Extra info for Alfred, Lord Tennyson (Bloom's Classic Critical Views)
The two young men had met while at Cambridge University, and Hallam became engaged to marry Tennyson’s sister. He died suddenly in Vienna of a brain hemorrhage while traveling with his father at the age of 22. His death had a profound effect on Tennyson, to the extent that some critics and biographers have questioned the nature of the two men’s relationship (by far the majority agree that it was platonic, if unusually close). Tennyson dedicated what would perhaps be his most famous poem, In Memoriam A.
Emerson sensitively draws a distinction between the poetic representation of objects and their reproduction in verse. Tennyson is not slavishly faithful to reality in his poetry, reproducing what exists in the external world, but reproduces it in the manner of a master painter, with a style and a simple grace all his own. It is a distinction that readers might find in contrasting Tennyson’s work with those lesser poets of the same period who produced their verse in a realistic manner and not in the mode which Emerson here suggests is the true poetic one.
Tennyson admired some of them so much that I have strong hopes of ultimately getting a sitting from the poet, though I have not yet ventured to ask for it. Some of the photographs called out a good deal of fun on Mr. Tennyson’s part. The picture of Skeffington in a fishing costume, he said, had the expression, (stroking down his beard as he spoke) ‘Well! I’ve come down here to catch trout, and if I don’t catch a trout this season, the great business of my life will be gone’; and his half-length portrait ‘By Jupiter!
Alfred, Lord Tennyson (Bloom's Classic Critical Views) by Sterling Professor of the Humanities Harold Bloom