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Tennyson.

Last year my survey included two books on Tennyson published in 2017, Leonee Ormond's The Reception of Alfred Tennyson in Europe and Jim Cheshire's Tennyson and Mid-Victorian Publishing; I also noted Daniel Hack's Reaping Something New, which touches on African American responses to Tennyson's "Charge of the Light Brigade" and The Princess. Here I address two other 2017 books, one focused solely on Tennyson, the other devoting more than one hundred pages to The Princess and In Memoriam. Tennyson's relation to science, poetic form, and cultural attitudes were all recurring frames of reference in 2017 scholarship.

Tennyson and Geology: Poetry and Poetics (Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan) by Michelle Geric contends that Victorian science and poetry did not represent "two cultures" as C. P. Snow argued in the mid-twentieth century but were interactive and dialogic, keenly aware to draw on each other (especially given the continued high prestige of poetry) to advance thought and engage readers. They also shared interests in the origins of words. Geric's sixth chapter draws largely from her earlier article on Maud in Victorian Poetry (2013) in which she compared Lyellian geology (which set aside teleology), William Whewell's commitment to teleology in his own scientific writing, and Richard Trench's "Adamic" language theory (premised on a fixed natural order from the moment of creation, though some "fossil" words gradually dropped away from usage). If Maud enacted Lyellian uniformitarianism socially, ontologically, and literarily, Geric further argued, Tennyson also represented the nightmarish qualities of a uniformitarian, nonteleological universe in which there is no ultimate fixed, certain meaning and transformation is ever ongoing. In essence, she suggests, poetry enabled Tennyson to think through the implications of Lyellian geology versus teleology, which he had perceived more optimistically in In Memoriam. If Geric referenced Mikhail Bakhtin in 2013, he and other poststructuralists assume greater roles in Geric's book. As she suggests, Tennyson's realization in Maud of potential discontinuities between a sign (whether a fossil or a word) and its signification unloosed strands of thought that would eventually lead to poststructuralist theory and to the disunion of poetry and science in the twentieth century.

Geric approaches Tennyson's three long midcentury poems as a trilogy, all deeply informed by geology and rich in implication for gender, class, and human development over time. Her analysis of In Memoriam's "uniformitarian poetics" and reading of Maud in relation to geological, fossil, language, and human remains are especially impressive. As Geric establishes in chapter 3 and her introduction, four principles of argument structured Lyell's Principles of Geology: his careful division between natural processes and teleology, the repetition but also displacement of organic and nonorganic forms resulting from geological process (especially erosion and uplift) over time, nonprogression overall, and a present that manifests the result of process over time but is also cut off from a prior past. Lyellian uniformitarianism is baked into the form of In Memoriam, she asserts: its more than seven hundred quatrains are a poetic counterpart to Lyell's model of repeated small actions over time that generate great change, while the ongoing dialectic within and across sections from despair to faith and back again exemplifies the steady state of a nonteleological, nonprogressive system. Tennyson can resolve endless process only by adapting Lyell's strategy of division, strictly separating material, natural process from human meaning, which, as does the poem, requires some teleology, some "end" toward which all preceding moments are "cooperant" (129.24).

The very process of writing the poem in small increments over years, Geric asserts, was the means through which Tennyson came to realize the incommensurateness of Lyellian geology and human meaning, which led to Maud five years later. Geric's reading links geology, human and fossil remains, and the overpowering presence of the red hollow in the speaker's mental tableau. He sees in his father's bones mangled and crushed into the ground the same uniform process at work that turned prior organic life into stone fossils and that will ultimately do the same to all humanity living and future. His inferences pose existential threats to his consciousness, identity, and purpose, just as new science interrogates the formerly central place of humankind in the cosmos, a perception exacerbated because the speaker is himself unhinged from any place in the world. Thus, he can construct only with difficulty a narrative of present process that looks back toward past processes. The madness to which he succumbs also intersects with geological motifs. He believes he is buried and feels his own bones being crushed and pulverized as his father's had been, while human life elsewhere is being changed to stone by social corruption that mixes bread with chalk and alum, practices that are tolerated by stony materialistic hearts. Tennyson's strategy for combating overwhelming meaninglessness in remains adverts, Geric suggests, to a little-known passage from Lyell, who speaks of bodies preserved--spared from fossilization--in the ships of patriotic naval ships sunk in battle with the dead on board, which the force and pressure of the ocean preserve.

I find Geric's chapter on The Princess less compelling, though it too contributes to scholarship in bringing forward another, less well-known Victorian geology text, Hugh Miller's The Old Red Sandstone (1841), addressed to working men. According to Geric, Miller posited fixed, unchanging gender relations founded in divine creation. Geric's evidence that Miller was widely known is compelling, but her assumption that The Princess closely followed Miller's approach to gender produces a Tennyson whom I do not fully recognize. This Tennyson drops his customary dialectic and represents Ida as a one-dimensional monstrous female, wrong from the start. The very winged female at her university's entrance signifies monstrousness (though Tennyson was happy enough to appropriate a winged man as an emblem of aspiration in the Idylls and would have known the winged victory female figure of the Greeks). Geric downplays any significant role played by Chambers's Vestiges of Natural Creation (1844) in The Princess (in contrast to Rebecca Stott's 2014 essay on the poem), despite Tennyson's indication of lively interest in Chambers in correspondence. After asking Edward Moxon to order Vestiges for him on 15 November 1844, he added about this book, "it seems to contain many speculations with which I have been familiar for years, and on which I have written more than one poem" (Letters, 1.230). Tennyson mentions Miller in one letter but without comment on his ideas or a resulting book order; and by then, he had proofs of The Princess in hand (Letters, 1.276). Despite my caveats, however, Geric's book as a whole stands as a significant contribution to scholarship.

Barri J. Gold also examines Tennyson and science in "Chaotic Fictions" (in Strange Science: Investigating the Limits of Knowledge in the Victorian Age, ed. Lara Karpenko and Shalyn Claggett [Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press], pp. 181-196). Her principal focus is on Krook's spontaneous combustion in Bleak House. But she also notes Tennyson's reference in In Memoriam to the successive phases of embryonic development (from gills to lungs, e.g.) and culminating delineation of Hallam, whose brief life represented in small the larger development of earth and evolving humanity. These, she suggests, register awareness of processes occurring across different time scales, as in contemporary chaos theory.

The science of mind and philosophy are central to Michael Hansen's subtle, complex essay entitled "Arthur Hallam's 'Characteristics' and Pleasure's Moral Sense" (Modern Philology 114: 899-921). In contrast to Isobel Armstrong, who discerns opposition between W. J. Fox's and Hallam's views given Fox's recourse to a progressive empiricism versus Hallam's conservative turn toward S. T. Coleridge and German Idealism, Hansen asserts the men's alignment. Both, he asserts, were influenced by Hartleyan mind science that led them to posit a physiological basis of intellect and sensation. Hallam was also influenced by James Mackintosh's Dissertation on the Progress of Ethical Philosophy: Chiefly during the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (1830), as his notes in the Tennyson Research Centre (Lincoln) attest. Though the link of Hallam's essay "On Sympathy" to Mackintosh is clear, Hallam departed from Mackintosh in also drawing on Hartleyan associationism and imitation. For Hallam, accordingly, a self did not preexist but emerged only in voluntary desires and actions motivated by imitation and an impetus for union with what is beyond the self. This easily transmuted into Christian materialism because the ultimate act of imitation and desire for union was God, whose sorrow over earthly evil led to the separate creation of Christ, who in turn imitated God and endured the ultimate privation (the crucifixion) out of the benevolent voluntary desire to assuage God's sorrow at witnessing earthly evil. Hansen agrees with Armstrong that Fox endorsed the poetry of sensation as a means of reforming society due to his empiricist assumptions. But Hallam's alignment of mind science with Christian materiality led him in contrast to emphasize a poetry that repudiated the dominance of intellect over feeling in favor of their fused operation. Rather than advocating modern poetry, like Fox, accordingly, Hallam located the best models for contemporary poetry in Italian and Elizabethan poems that offered more vivid, fresh sensations not drawn from bookishness but from direct encounters with nature and linked (as in Dante) to desire and Christian ethical benevolence. A defining feature of such poetry was its shifting, sportive play of rhyme. This poetry of sensation could thus redeem society by activating readers' ethical benevolence and openness to new impressions and directly immersing them in habits of sensation fused with thought. This would help dismantle a priori ideas and feelings and could lead to desires for the gratification of all in society.

If Hansen couples science, philosophy, and poetic form (especially rhyme), Michael Hurley couples form and religion in Faith in Poetry: Verse Style as a Mode of Religious Belief (London: Bloomsbury). A religious poet, he argues, ideally structures a poem to enact religious experience, as with liturgical forms (a point that Kirstie Blair has explored so effectively). More crucially, a religious poet must have faith in the medium of poetry itself, seeing in poetry's formal resources experiential channels of faith. Rather than stating universal religious propositions, poetry is best at enabling the poet, and in turn the reader, an opportunity for groping toward the direct experience of the divine and aiding in understanding of what faith consists. For Tennyson (the focus of Hurley's second chapter), the experience of groping toward faith is carried by his verse's movements, as in the shifts from section to section of In Memoriam, and his poetry's sound. Hurley's close, elegant readings of metrical breaks, continuities, and repetitions are reminiscent of some of Seamus Perry's earlier work but within a religious rather than secular framework. Tennyson's poetry, Hurley ultimately argues, exemplifies an "epistemology of affect" that can arrive only at contingent faith but firmly retains faith in the will to continue feeling and exploring.

The Lyric in Victorian Memory: Poetic Remembering and Forgetting from Tennyson to Housman (Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan), by Veronica Alfano, devotes over a hundred pages to Tennyson and, along with Geric's book, represents the most substantial contribution to the year's Tennyson studies. Alfano's key term is "amnesiac memory," which has an intrinsic relation to a culture undergoing radical change, to the status of poetry (in danger of being forgotten in the age of the novel), and to lyric brevity and compression that generate elisions and gaps. Opting for a broadly inclusive definition of lyric (though she carefully situates her analysis at the outset in history, philosophy, literary tradition, and theory), Alfano challenges the customary view that the fin-de-siecle lyric, in its fleeting impressions, impersonality, and elisions, is distinct from major mid-Victorian poetry. Rather, she underscores how impersonal so much midcentury verse is, singling out "Mariana" in her introduction, which gives readers no clues as to what Mariana recalls (the lyric itself here "forgets") nor voices any confessional, inward feelings of Tennyson. Throughout her monograph, Alfano emphasizes lyric's departure from all prose and poetic narratives and proposes that the Victorian lyric of memory is predicated on an alternative epistemology from that adopted in realist narrative. The latter presumes that the external world can be known and understood and so drives toward resolution and a final perspective. The brief lyric assumes no larger grasp of a whole, only a transitory perception that will be effaced by a new one, just as Mariana, who fails utterly to recapture the past, can merely offer repetitive utterance rather than plot-driven action, a blockage of forward movement mirrored in her lyric's fragmentation of syntax and units broken into stanzas.

Alfano's second chapter, "Tennyson's Lyric Betrayals: Feminine Reformation in The Princess and In Memoriam," concurs with prior scholarship that views the lyric as a feminine form and accepts the figure of the child as the key to meaning in The Princess. But she systematically and closely reads all eleven of this work's intercalary and intraplot lyrics, blank verse and rhymed, and in doing so acts to recuperate Tennyson's "medley" from the charge of misogyny. Alfano also demonstrates the increasingly interactive relation of the lyrics to Tennyson's blank-verse narrative. The lyric "betrayals" of her chapter title have a double reference. With this first-published long poem, Tennyson sought to respond to his critics and friends who urged him to engage prominent issues of the day in a long poem in blank verse to validate his poetic maturity. His incorporation in 1850 of lyrics sung by women put paid to that aim, redirecting his audience's attention to the lyrics; even today, similarly, The Princess is most often represented only by its lyrics in poetry anthologies. Ida is likewise betrayed by lyric (though in her case the lyrics retain blank verse that links them formally to the narrative). When she sings her victorious song "Our enemies have fallen, have fallen" (6.17-42), as Alfano points out, she is holding Aglaia, who awakens feelings of maternal care in her. Subsequently reading aloud the lyrics "Now sleeps the crimson petal" and "Come down, O maid" as the prince sleeps before her like a child in its cradle, she is seduced into nostalgic remembrance of her own mother and new erotic feelings, both of which cause her to "forget" her feminist university. As Alfano later adds, however, readers do not necessarily forget the earlier aspirational, feminist Ida and may prefer to recall her rather than Tennyson's narrative ending (as some nineteenth-century feminists did).

Most scholarly commentators agree that the poem's child figures mediate between lyrics and the blank-verse narrative. But Alfano sees the child in relation to lyric form itself; both are small and offer no large propositional statements, and lyric's pauses, repetitions, and nonstandard syntax can be aligned with childhood babbling. In weaving together story and song, the child figures also assist in Tennyson's "authorial self-fashioning" (Alfano, p. 62). Alfano divides the poem's eleven lyrics into four groups that at first uphold the separation of lyric and narrative but then increasingly intervene or resonate with each other, so that Ida's falling into the river literalizes the dying fall of a lyric such as "Tears, Idle Tears"; and that literal fall threatening death is distantly recalled in "Let the river take me to the main" in "Ask Me No More."

Alfano also reads In Memoriam in relation to the child: in Tennyson's long process of mourning, he risked infantilization by extended grief; rather than adopting the weightier medium of blank verse, he adopted the more juvenile tetrameter meter that was common to feminine balladry; and his repetitions and frequent halts along the way again risked resemblance to childish language and poetics. However, in this poem, the child does not represent stasis in women's development due to maternal ties. The child in In Memoriam is linked more to the father--God the father--as in the famous lyric identifying the poet with a child that, "crying, knows his father near" (126.19-20). The reference to a child being conceived in the epilogue, moreover, is a dynamic link to a new future that Hallam foreshadowed and that divine agency is bringing into being through nature. Lyric forgetting remains central to the poem, though, as successive stanzas efface former feelings and thoughts, just as, to gain adulthood, a child must forget the past (a major threat to a poet seeking to preserve a past relationship). Finally, in forging the entire sequence of lyrics into the vision conveyed at the end, Tennyson remasculinized his poem and himself, and it is no coincidence, Alfano contends, that this work (unlike lyrics dismembered from The Princess) is often printed in its entirety in classroom anthologies.

The antiphonal critical voice of Alfano in 2017 is The Victorian Verse-Novel: Aspiring to Life (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press) by Stefanie Markovits. The range of verse novels that Markovits discusses is very impressive, but since my remit here is Tennyson, I will comment only of Markovits's title, which encapsulates the larger conceptualization of her book, and of her approach to "form-things" in Tennyson's Idylls. "Aspiring," Markovits explains, gestures toward the "rapturous" possibilities of lyric, while "Life" points toward the verse novel's story (generally in a realist mode) (Markovits, p. 9). The verse novel's "hybridity" induces a constant play of formal contestation that, along with the verse novel's length, makes it especially suited to deal with contemporary social problems and debates. That adultery is a repeated theme of the verse novel (as in Idylls of the King and the long poems by Robert Browning that she discusses alongside each other) points to the greater latitude of poetry relative to Victorian fiction and its fresh considerations of marriage and gender. Diamonds and pearls are for her central tropes in Tennyson's Idylls. The diamond necklace that Lancelot hopes to present to Guinevere and the broken pearl necklace of which Vivien sings are tropes of adultery and, additionally, a metacommentary on the Idylls' form. The perfect roundness of a pearl or circlet of diamonds bespeaks the lyric poet's aspiration toward aesthetic wholeness, but necklaces can be broken and diamonds cut into parts, becoming part of a linear sequence that resonates with literary narrative.

In Victorian Horace: Classics and Class (London: Bloomsbury), Stephen Harrison, a classics professor at Oxford, builds on earlier commentaries by Susan Shatto and Marion Shaw (regarding the "Fair Ship" sequence in In Memoriam) and A. A. Markley in assessing the role of Horace in Tennyson's career. The Horatian echoes that Harrison identifies in Tennyson's epistle to Edward FitzGerald are especially notable. Tennyson's teasing of FitzGerald about his vegetarianism, Harrison observes, parallels Horace's chaffing of Fuscus for his Stoic ideas, and as in most of Horace's odes addressed to writer friends, Tennyson also mentions his friend's literary work.

Horace also plays a significant role in "The Victorian Verse Culture of Cambridge" (Nineteenth-Century Literature 72, no. 3:374-401) by Adam Mazel, who offers a probing analysis of class in this article--which conveys in its style the light touch and grace that characterized vers de societe and Cambridge verse culture in particular. Many examples he cites belong to what Mazel terms "Cambridge Revisited" and "Cambridge Farewell" verses. Mazel is deliberate in using the term "verse" rather than "poem," since its practitioners aimed not at lasting statement or reputation but at witty performance based on classical erudition and gentlemanly finesse. This was in keeping with the social function of Cambridge, namely, to produce gentlemen. Tennyson's dirty linen and obliviousness to refined accents would have registered his dissent from such a beau-ideal, yet Mazel points out that In Memoriam participates from a distance in the Cambridge Revisited and Cambridge Farewell tradition when the speaker revisits the room where Hallam formerly lived or bids farewell to Somersby (sections 87, 101-103). But Tennyson reversed the usual pattern of Cambridge verse, which adapted intricate rhymes from poetic tradition to craft verse exquisite in form but nugatory in content, to adapt Cambridge verse and "Lycidas," a precursor Cambridge elegy, to create a new poem.

Less focused on form are two articles that read Tennyson within cultural and ideological frameworks. "We're All Anglo-Saxons Now: Alfred Tennyson and the United States" (Victorian Review 43, no. 1: 87-110) by Owen Clayton is a well-researched exposition of the ugliest elements of Tennyson's life and work fueled by increasing hostility to "Yankees," whom he considered grasping materialists versus less greedy, more refined southerners. Though Tennyson never advocated slavery and was happy to claim Anglo-Saxon Americans as "sons of English blood" ("Hands All Round"), he became increasingly nettled by Union claims to war damages payable by Britain after the Civil War and by anti-Catholic hostility to an influx of Irish immigrants into the US Northeast against the backdrop of Home Rule debates at home--a context that helps explain Tennyson's shaping of "Columbus" when the United States requested a poem in honor of the "discovery" of America. When the post-Civil War United States emerged as a nascent global and imperial power, however, Tennyson perceived an advantage in Britain's allying itself with the United States to carry forward the legacy of Anglo-Saxon culture. "Kapiolani," written on the cusp of the US annexation of Hawaii that would establish dominant Christian culture in the island nation, accordingly shadows forth the United States as a future global power ushering in a higher culture worldwide.

Suzanne Hillman, a specialist in intellectual history, reads "Balin and Balan" as anticipating Freud's Civilization and Its Discontents (1930) as well as registering Tennyson's growing pessimism about civilization's future, in "A Nightmare of Disorder: Arthurian Civilization and Its Discontents in Tennyson's Idyll 'Balin and Balan'" (VP 55, no. 3: 287-307). Overemphasizing the doppelganger motif, she cautions, overlooks Balin's own noble aspirations, which end in self-destructive collapse due to his internal contradictions--a mirror of civilization inherently riven by the imperative of sublimation through repression versus ineradicable instincts of sex and violence. Balin himself thus becomes a trope of civilization. If Hillman's article points to fresh convergences between Tennyson and Modernism at large, Clay Daniel touches on Tennyson's reception by a Modernist poet in "Auden's 'Anthem for St. Cecilia's Day' and Tennyson's 'Palace of Art'" (N&Q, December, pp. 633-634). Daniel adduces compelling evidence that in revising "Anthem for St. Cecilia's Day," intended for Benjamin Britten's Hymn to St. Cecilia (1942), Auden was influenced by both the 1832 and 1842 Cecilia stanzas in "The Palace of Art" to place Cecilia by the sea.

Christine A. Colon discusses Tennyson's reception by the twentieth-century feminist, writer, and theologian Dorothy Sayers in "Defending Tennyson: Dorothy L. Sayers and the Art of Charitable Reading" (Christianity & Literature 66, no. 2: 274-292). Sayers defended Tennyson against Modernist condescension to his work, though she was well aware of his limits where gender was concerned and critiqued him on those grounds. Colon suggests that Sayers's fullest reception of Tennyson occurs with reference to The Princess in Sayers's detective novel Gaudy Night (1935), in which Harriet Vane returns to a woman's college and finds that in affirming her intellect and identity as a scholar, she also finds a way to affirm marriage. In likewise making her villain a married woman rather than sexually frustrated spinster or female ideologue, Sayers also dissents from Tennyson's forced choice for Ida between career and marriage. Colons subtitle derives from Martha Nussbaum's advocacy in Love's Knowledge (1990) of orientations of humility, openness to bonds, and porousness among readers to effect the equivalence of active listening to what each book has to say, a point that also has classroom implications for undergraduate and graduate students.

Vincent A. Lankewish advocates teaching the whole of In Memoriam rather than assigning content-driven excerpts, in "Blank Spaces, Full of Mourning: Against Compressing, Excerpting, and Anthologizing In Memoriam for Classroom Use" (Pedagogy 17, no. 2: 343-350). He bases his argument on the interplay of material format and textual meaning in the elegy's first edition. He instances the layout of section 6, which invokes the reconstitution and disappearance of Hallam's body, at the end of which "And unto me, no second friend" gave way in the first edition to half a page of blank space. Lankewish offers further textual criticism as well as many useful teaching tips; and his brief article also gains force and meaning as an indirect tribute throughout to Lankewish's late friend A. A. Markley, who generously provided a photocopy of his personal first edition for Lankewish to use in class.

The 2017 Tennyson Research Bulletin (11, no. 1:1-105) is a special fiftieth-anniversary issue in which Marion Shaw recounts the founding of the Tennyson Society (pp. 6-8), which publishes TRB, and Patrick Scott provides a history of the TRB publications board and early days of the Tennyson Research Centre in Lincoln (pp. 15-17). The special issue also includes Christopher Ricks's note "Tennyson and [Robert] Graves: A Dubium" (pp. 73-77) and my survey of successive waves of scholarship in "Tennyson Studies 1967-2017" (pp. 9-14).

Looking not to the past but firmly situated in relation to emergent rigorous literary scholarship focused on social justice issues are two articles that adopt ecocritical approaches to Tennyson. James MacNeill Miller, building on Deborah Lutz's Relics of Death (2015) and Thomas Laqueur's The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Mortal Remains (2016), boldly addresses the afterlife, not of the dead in spirit or cultural memory but of the rotting dead body ("Composing Decomposition: In Memoriam and the Ecocritical Undertaking," Nineteenth-Century Contexts 39.5: 383-395). His argument, which begins with Hallam's dissected, shipped, and buried body prior to its representation in In Memoriam, has formalist as well as cultural and social implications. Tennyson's diction in his elegy often glances obliquely toward Hallam's dead body, whether in references to divine hands "moulding men" (125:24), "Other friends remain" (7:1), or recurring references to dust (my emphases), all of which invoke rotting remains; even Tennyson's allusion to the "blow" (86.56) of Hallam's death, Miller suggests, can summon thoughts of the blowfly that helps clean corpses by laying eggs in decaying flesh, a zoological detail well known in Tennyson's time. Rather than turning away from human rot in disgust or fear, Miller adds, humans should affirm the new life literally born (or hatched) from the human dead body. Thus resituating what Julia Kristeva defines as an experience of the abject (which elicits twinned horror and fascination), Miller interrogates the entire literary tradition that equates death with narrative closure. He likewise criticizes the general lack of candid acknowledgment of rotting bodies in nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature. Miller's intervention in the taboo against acknowledging death in contemporary discourse, much less the odorous decay of dead bodies, is gripping. I can think of at least one candid nineteenth-century treatment of death and human rot, however: Leo Tolstoy's "The Death of Ivan Ilyich" (1886); and in the twentieth century A. S. Byatt's "Conjugial Angel" (Angels and Insects, 1992) also acknowledges decay, since her imagined Tennyson renews contact with the rotting, moldering Hallam rather than an aestheticized memory of him. In future work, Miller might want to devote attention to the relation of his argument to a dimension of inner human ecology, its emotional attachment to a long-loved being whose transformation into stench and decay is likely to bring pain more than celebration.

Valerie Purton (whom Miller cites) contributes a subtle, at times lyrical ecocritical reading of Tennyson, in "Between 'bounded field' and 'brooding star': A Study of Tennyson's Topography," a chapter in Victorian Writers and the Environment: Ecocritical Perspectives (ed. Laurence W. Mazzeno and Ronald D. Morrison [London: Routledge], pp. 29-46). Purton traces Tennyson's handling of place (which implies specificity, locality, and boundedness) and space (which connotes the boundless, unprobed, and cosmic) throughout Tennyson's career as yet another manifestation of his dialectical thinking as well as his dialogues with Romanticism and Darwinism. Rather than, as did Wordsworth, projecting human meaning onto or out of nature, Tennyson often recorded minute natural detail without commentary or transformation into symbol, a practice that can today be aligned with ecological affirmation of nonhuman life without recourse to human appropriation. Tennyson's poetry differs from "objective" scientific accounts of nature influenced by Darwin, on the other hand, in representing the mystery and incomprehensibility of distant cosmic spaces. In this respect, whether in "The Gardener's Daughter" (a decidedly bounded place) or the "star" that Ulysses aspires to follow endlessly, the place/space dialectic illuminates his career as a whole.
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Title Annotation:Guide to the Year's Work; Alfred Tennyson
Author:Hughes, Linda K.
Publication:Victorian Poetry
Article Type:Critical essay
Date:Sep 22, 2018
Words:4692
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