Anglo-American Antiphony: The Late Romanticism of Tennyson and Emerson

By Richard E. Brantley | Go to book overview

ONE
Introit

Despite (or because of) the tension and opposition between empiricism and evangelicalism, the one does not exist without the other's being actively present or dynamically near. With regard to art in particular as well as to culture in general, Friedrich von Schiller argues that Stofftrieb (material-drive) and Formtrieb (form-drive) cooperate to produce Spieltrieb (play-drive). Schiller concludes that "we have now been led to the notion of a reciprocal action between the two drives, reciprocal action of such a kind that the activity of the one gives rise to, and sets limits to, the activity of the other, and in which each in itself achieves its highest manifestation precisely by reason of the other being active."1 The dialectic / "reciprocal action" of empiricism and evangelicalism constitutes the Spieltrieb of In Memoriam. If the play of this elegy is not exactly seriousness or if the seriousness of the poem is not play, the yoke of the poem, nevertheless, is easy and the burden of the poem is light. In Memoriam regards bicultural philosophy/faith as both fully alternating and fully interdependent.

My approach differs from the perhaps too serious, perhaps too unplayful arguments for Tennyson's art as unified: "time and again," declares John R. Reed, Tennyson "exploited" a single moral design;2 his "awareness of doom," avers William R. Brashear, unequivocally integrates his work;3 and Tennyson, according to Ward Hellstrom, "consistently endorsed the choice of life over death and involvement over isolation."4 While I, too, regard Tennyson's art as sufficiently self-consistent, or at any rate well integrated, I seek, nevertheless, to cultivate nuances and to incorporate them into my own synoptic approach to In Memoriam, for I draw out the poem's synthesizing, antiphonal power of empiricism-cum-evangelicalism.

-27-

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Anglo-American Antiphony: The Late Romanticism of Tennyson and Emerson
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Prelude ix
  • Theme and Variations 1
  • Exposition the First - The Method of in Memoriam 25
  • One - Introit 27
  • Two - Empirical Procedures 33
  • Three - Evangelical Principles 51
  • Four - Philosophical Theology 65
  • Five - Spiritual Sense 90
  • Six - Theodiceal Impulse 97
  • Seven - Set Pieces 106
  • Eight - Language Method 115
  • Nine - Intra-Romantic Relationships 127
  • Exposition the Second - The Method of Emerson's Prose 151
  • Ten - Introit 153
  • Eleven - Perspective-By-Perspective Understanding 160
  • Twelve - Religious Methodology 166
  • Thirteen - Suspenseful Subjectivity 177
  • Fourteen - Experience and Faith 193
  • Fifteen - Roots of Theory 204
  • Sixteen - The Play of Skepticism 211
  • Seventeen - Language Method 236
  • Recapitulation and Cadenza 245
  • Notes 277
  • Works Cited 313
  • Index 337
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