A Tennyson Handbook

A Tennyson Handbook

A Tennyson Handbook

A Tennyson Handbook

Excerpt

Although there have been numerous books concerning nearly every aspect of Tennyson's life and poetry, it has not been possible to find in any one book the basic information concerning every poem. Hence the need for this handbook. Information which is widely scattered throughout special studies is here assembled systematically, poem by poem, as each appeared in a volume during the poet's lifetime. This handbook is based on the first editions of Tennyson's poems and plays. My criterion for selection has been whether Tennyson ever included the poem in a volume (Timbuctoo is an exception), even though he later suppressed the poem. I have not dealt with his ephemeral publications. His plays are discussed according to date of publication in a volume, not according to date of stage production.

The only other Tennyson handbook is Morton Luce A Handbook to the Works of Alfred Lord Tennyson (London, 1895), to which was added some additional material in the new and revised edition in 1914. Luce used the poem-by-poem arrangement as the format for his critical comment; he made no attempt to present basic information about each poem. Since Luce discussed only the poems included in the Macmillan one-volume edition of Tennyson's works, his handbook does not deal with the poems Tennyson suppressed after first publication in a volume. (The Tennyson handbook listed as by M. Ince in Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature, III, 256, is a "ghost book": "M. Ince" is a misprint for "M. Luce.")

Although the primary value of the present handbook is conceived to be that of reference concerning the individual poem or play, a reading of it will convey a detailed insight into the nature and scope of a poetical career that practically spanned the nineteenth century--from 1827 to 1892-65 years between first and last volumes. It also is intended to be a reference guide in dealing with separate poems. Citations to other studies, in many cases monographs, will enable the reader to investigate certain features more exhaustively than he can from a general book of this nature. As the discussion of each poem is an entity in itself, there is unavoidable repetition.

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