What is a brief summary of Tennyson's "Maud"?



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'Maud,' like the 'Princess' and 'In Memoriam' is one of of Tennyson's longer and more complex poems. It is intensely psychological with a layered and unreliable narrative voice. To explain the poem to your fellow students, you will need to do several things:

1. Discuss the actual sequence of events in the poem. What do you think happens? How much is the narrator's fantasy and how much should the reader assume is intended to represent actual events?

2. What is the psychological state of the narrator? Is he mad? Is the practical world with which he is out of touch distorted in its own way and is there some sort of validity to his vision of the world?

3. How does Tennyson's own personal romantic and family history contribute to the poem?

4. What is the role of nature in the poem?

5. How did the psychological portraiture, the fracturing of reality, and the use of irregular meters to represent disordered states of mind anticipate modernism (especially Eliot?)


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