Alfred, Lord Tennyson Additional Biography

Biography

(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Alfred, Lord Tennyson was born in 1809 at Somersby Rectory in Lincolnshire, but his father, the Reverend Dr. George Tennyson, was not the typical Anglican clergyman. As the dispossessed eldest son of a wealthy landowner, he was forced to accept a profession he disliked, but it afforded him time to educate his children. A man of culture and intelligence himself, he noticed early that Alfred, the fourth of his twelve children, had a gift for poetry, which he readily encouraged. Alfred began writing verses during his earliest years, and at twelve he began an epic poem in imitation of Sir Walter Scott . This caused his father to remark: “If that boy dies, one of our greatest poets will have gone.” Tennyson was spurred on by this encouragement and by collaboration with his brother Charles; Poems by Two Brothers was published when Alfred was still in his teens.

When Tennyson went to Cambridge in 1827, he became associated with a group of brilliant young men who called themselves the Apostles. One of the most gifted of them, Arthur Hallam, became his best friend and chief advocate. This group of friends helped him to overcome his initial shyness; they gave him confidence and broadened his experience so that in the next few years he published two volumes of poetry: Poems, Chiefly Lyrical (1830) and Poems (1832, imprinted 1833).

All seemed to be going well in a promising literary career but then came a series of shocks. The most traumatic was certainly the sudden death of Hallam in 1833; their friendship had become so close and deep that Tennyson went into a long period of depression following his friend’s death. He published very little over the next nine years, but rather than attribute these...

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Biography

(British and Irish Poetry, Revised Edition)

Alfred Tennyson, first Baron Tennyson of Aldworth and Freshwater, was born at Somersby in the Lincolnshire district of England on August 6, 1809, the fourth of twelve children. His father, the Reverend George Tennyson, was a brooding, melancholic man, whose lifelong bitterness—inspired by his having been disinherited in favor of a younger brother—manifested itself in his behavior toward his family. Alfred was spared much of his father’s wrath, however, because George Tennyson apparently recognized his fourth son’s special brilliance and took pains to tutor him in history, science, and literature. Tennyson spent five years at Louth Grammar School (1815-1820), then returned home to continue his studies under his father’s personal guidance.

Tennyson began writing poetry at an early age; at eight, he was imitating James Thomson, and at twelve, he was writing romances in the manner of Sir Walter Scott. In 1827, the year he entered Trinity College, Cambridge, he and his brothers Charles and Frederick published Poems by Two Brothers.

At Cambridge, Tennyson was an undisciplined student. He was well received by his fellow students, however, and in 1829, he was elected a member of the Apostles, a club devoted to intellectual inquiry. Through this association, he met Arthur Henry Hallam, who was to figure prominently in his life. In 1829, Tennyson won the Chancellor’s Medal for his poem “Timbuctoo,” and in 1830, he published Poems, Chiefly Lyrical. In March, 1831, George Tennyson died, and shortly afterward Tennyson left Cambridge without a degree.

Tennyson’s 1832 volume, Poems, like his earlier one, was treated rather roughly by reviewers. Their comments, coupled with the death of Hallam in 1833, caused him to avoid publication for ten years. Hallam’s death was an especially severe blow to Tennyson. Hallam had been engaged to Tennyson’s...

(The entire section is 781 words.)

Biography

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

ph_0111201592-Tennyson.jpg Alfred, Lord Tennyson Published by Salem Press, Inc.

Alfred Tennyson (TEHN-uh-suhn) was born on August 6, 1809, in Somersby, Lincolnshire, England, where his father, the Reverend George Tennyson, was serving as rector of a church. His mother’s name was Elizabeth Fytche Tennyson. Early in life he exhibited intellectual brilliance that caught his father’s attention. George Tennyson arranged for his son to attend Louth Grammar School from 1815 to 1820 and gave the precocious youth private lessons thereafter. Life at home was not all serene, however, as Tennyson’s father suffered from a form of mental illness that led to a serious breakdown in 1824. In fact, George Tennyson’s untimely death in 1831 caused the poet to leave Cambridge without a degree so that he could help settle family affairs.

From an early age, Alfred showed an intense interest in poetry, writing verses modeled on those of James Thomson and, later, Sir Walter Scott. In the same year that he entered Trinity College, Cambridge, 1827, he and his brother published a slim volume of poetry; it was not well received by the critics. At Cambridge, Tennyson was not a good student, but he made several friendships that would figure importantly in his life. The most significant was that with Arthur Henry Hallam, a brilliant young man who was influential in Tennyson’s participation in the Apostles, a famous Cambridge debating and social club. While at Cambridge, Tennyson published a second volume of poetry; it, too, was reviewed harshly.

After leaving Cambridge, Tennyson traveled with Hallam on the Continent in 1832 and published his third volume of poems. During the following year, however, Hallam, who was then engaged to Tennyson’s sister, died suddenly while visiting Vienna. The death shattered Tennyson but stimulated his creative genius: During the next seventeen years, he composed more than a...

(The entire section is 750 words.)

Biography

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s immense popularity among his contemporaries was a contributing cause to his decline in critical esteem during the first half of the twentieth century, when the reaction against Victorianism reached its height. Following the sympathetic judgment of mid-century critics, such as the poet’s grandson Sir Charles Tennyson and noted Victorianist Jerome H. Buckley, more recent scholars have rekindled interest in Tennyson’s works and have ranked his best poems—works such as “Ulysses,” “Tithonus,” In Memoriam, and Idylls of the King—among the finest in the language.

Biography

(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Alfred Tennyson (TEHN-uh-suhn), the fourth son of the Rev. G. C. Tennyson, rector of the parish at Somersby in Lincolnshire, was born in 1809. His literary output began at the age of six, with blank verse scribbled on a slate, and culminated some seventy-five years later with the much-quoted “Crossing the Bar.” In between came poetry that is sometimes magnificent, often vapid and mawkish, but always characteristic of an age alternately self-confident and self-conscious, the age of Victoria.

Somersby was a quiet village with fewer than a hundred inhabitants. Tennyson’s father was talented (a dabbler in poetry, painting, architecture, and music), and his mother, whose maiden name was Elizabeth Fytche, was noted for her gentleness and sweet disposition. In this setting Tennyson’s talent developed early. While he was attending Louth Grammar School he broke into print with Poems by Two Brothers, a collection which actually contained the works of three members of a talented family—Alfred, Frederick, and Charles. This juvenile volume shows the influence of George Gordon, Lord Byron, whom Alfred admired so greatly that when he heard of his death he took a lonely, sad walk and carved into the sandstone, “Byron is dead.”

In 1828 Tennyson went to Trinity College, Cambridge. There he took an interest in politics and became a member of the Apostles, a club of young literary men. Among these friends was Arthur Henry Hallam, whose later death at the age of twenty-three so affected Tennyson that he published nothing for ten years. Hallam is elegized in In Memoriam, a loose collection of philosophical lyrics that seems to be groping for, but never quite reaching, the handhold of faith. At Cambridge Tennyson won the chancellor’s medal for his poem “Timbuctoo,” and it was there he brought out in 1830 his first important volume, Poems, Chiefly Lyrical. Although some of the reviews of this book were unkind, perhaps justifiably so, and although the...

(The entire section is 817 words.)

Biography

(Poetry for Students)

Tennyson was born in 1809 in Somersby, Lincolnshire. The fourth of twelve children, he was the son of a clergyman who maintained his office...

(The entire section is 115 words.)

Biography

(Poetry for Students)

Alfred, Lord Tennyson was born August 6, 1809, in Somersby, Lincolnshire, England. His father was a clergyman, the rector of Somersby, a...

(The entire section is 374 words.)

Biography

(Poetry for Students)

Lord Tennyson Published by Gale Cengage

Tennyson was born August 6, 1809, in Somersby, Lincolnshire, England. The fourth of twelve children, he was the son of a clergyman who...

(The entire section is 358 words.)