Victorian Poetry

Journal publishing scholary articles on topics related to Victorian poetry and poets.

Articles from Vol. 47, No. 1, Spring

An Adventure in Modern Marriage: Domestic Development in Tennyson's Geraint and Enid and the Marriage of Geraint
Tennyson committed decades of his life to recrafting medieval Arthurian romance into his eventual Victorian epic, Idylls of the King, but his earliest publication from the venture shows that he approached the project with concern for its relevance...
Calculating Loss in Tennyson's in Memoriam
Subtraction and Division Contemporary attitudes toward recovery from loss have inevitably been influenced by Sigmund Freud's "Mourning and Melancholia" (1917). Freud's essay contrasts the work of mourning, whereby the subject detaches itself from...
Delirious Bulldogs and Nasty Crockery: Tennyson as Nonsense Poet
In concluding his 1833 essay "The Two Kinds of Poetry," John Stuart Mill turns to the role of the critic and suggests that, just as a person must be possessed of a certain amount of feeling and philosophy to be poet, so a critic must be possessed of...
Eight Reflections of Tennyson's "Ulysses"
In Memoriam: Douglas Bush, Dwight Culler, Edgar Shannon I had ambition not only to go farther than any one had been before, but as far as it was possible for man to go. --The Circumnavigator, Captain James Cook, R.N. (1) 1. An Anxiety of Influence...
Epistolary Tennyson: The Art of Suspension
Probably only Tennysonians know a group of his poems that may loosely be called verse epistles, and as less than a Tennysonian I discovered them myself fairly recently. The occasion was a small course I taught in Victorian writers where Tennyson was...
Getting It Wrong in "The Lady of Shalott"
Medea in Ovid's Metamorphoses famously declares, "Video meliora proboque,/ deteriora sequor"--I see what is better, and I approve of it; I pursue what is worse. (1) The passage is justly celebrated, because it transforms what could be a simple commonplace--people...
Guest Editor's Foreword
Well--were it not a pleasant thing To fall asleep with all one's friends; To pass with all our social ties To silence from the paths of men; And every hundred years to rise And learn the world, and sleep again; To sleep...
Tennyson and the Embodied Mind
Some time after the publication of his book The Principles of Psychology in 1855, Herbert Spencer wrote to Alfred Tennyson: SIR, I happened recently to be re-reading your Poem "The Two Voices," and coming to the verse Or...
Tennyson and the Ladies
In his 1830 Poems, Chiefly Lyrical and 1832 Poems, Tennyson published more than a dozen lyrics now designated "lady poems"--taking his titles from the heroines of Shakespeare and Spenser, modern and classical authors, and letting them evolve, as he...
Tennyson and Zeno: Three Infinities
Though Tennyson left Cambridge without a degree because he refused to climb "the apparently unscalable wall of mathematics," (1) astronomy, physics, and the new geology of Robert Chambers and Charles Lyell continue to fire his imagination with thoughts...
Tennyson's Catholic Years: A Point of Contact
De Vere--his talk of Catholicism, eloquently vague, sliding into Newmanism and Jesuitry. The T.'s mildly dissentient, I getting angry. T., De V., and I went out under the stars; I flared up at last and asked De V., "Do you yourself entirely believe...
The Breathing Space of Ballad: Tennyson's Stillborn Poetics
In April 1851, on Easter Sunday, Alfred Tennyson's first child was stillborn. The child, a boy, was apparently strangled by the umbilical cord. Christopher Ricks reports that the poet never forgot this "'great grief.'" (1) Rather than send a death...
The Contemporaneity of the Last Tournament
The Idylls of the King [functioned as] a shell to encase the nineteenth century. --Robert Bernard Martin (1) The single poems making up the collective Idylls of the King were released over a very long period of time, more than sixty-five years...
Unnumbered Polypi
In August 1829, during a "voyage among the Polynesian islands," the surgeon George Bennett acquired a pearly (or chambered) nautilus (nautilus pompilius). This creature had been spotted "floating on the surface of the water ... resembling, as the sailors...
What the Laureate Did Next: Maud
I know that I braid too much my own Snapped-off perceptions of things as they come to me. They are private and always will be. Where then are the private turns of event Destined to boom later like golden chimes Released over a city...
"Who Knows If He Be Dead?": Maud, Signification, and the Madhouse Canto
The most compelling question in Tennyson's Maud (1855) is not, as some have suggested, "What is it, that has been done?" (1) but rather, "Who knows if he be dead?" (II.119). Both of these inquiries, in their immediate contexts, relate to the speaker's...