This volume of Tennyson’s poetry contains, with the exception of the songs of THE PRINCESS and certain lyrics of IN MEMORIAM, some of the best poetry he ever wrote. In this 1842 volume is reprinted, often with considerable revision, the earlier poetry of 1830 and 1832 publications which critics had treated, with some justice, harshly. These revisions may be studied with some profit, for they illustrate how Tennyson was developing artistic consciousness during the famous “ten years silence” which followed the death of his best friend, Arthur Henry Hallam, in 1833. In this period Tennyson published few poems but worked steadily revising his early poems and wrote much of IN MEMORIAM as well as the new poems, first published in 1842. Since these new poems were composed after Hallam’s death, many reflect the various moods the poet experienced as a result of his loss.
Of the poems revised and republished, perhaps of all of Tennyson’s poems, “The Lady of Shalott” is best known. In this poem we see the characteristic Tennysonian landscape and the portrait of the isolated lady, as well as the handling of meter and special attention to the sounds of words for which the poet is known. Although landscapes may vary with the mood the poems portray in other Tennyson poems, nature usually harmonizes with and conveys the subject’s psychological state, as in IN MEMORIAM. Here, however, nature and human activity in the...
(The entire section is 1278 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of Poems Critical Essays. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!