In Memoriam

In Memoriam

by Alfred Lord Tennyson
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NOOK BookDigitized from 1867 volume (eBook - Digitized from 1867 volume)

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Overview

In Memoriam by Alfred Lord Tennyson

Published in 1850, In Memoriam won its author the Poet Laureateship of Britain and received widespread attention from critics and reviewers, as well as from ordinary readers. The poem was written in memory of Tennyson’s close friend Arthur Henry Hallam, who died suddenly in 1833; it became an unofficial devotional manual for mourners, including Queen Victoria after the death of Prince Albert. The poem’s scope goes beyond individual grief, however, to the development and extinction of species, audaciously exploring history, evolution, and God’s relationship with humanity. Its formal beauty and emotional resonance make In Memoriam as compelling today as it was for nineteenth-century readers.

Matthew Rowlinson’s introduction traces the poem’s composition history and places it in the context of Tennyson’s personal and intellectual development. Historical appendices include writings by Arthur Hallam, Victorian fiction on courtship and marriage, and materials on natural history and evolution.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940026366934
Publisher: Edward Moxon
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 110 KB

About the Author

Matthew Rowlinson is Professor of English at Western University.

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In Memoriam 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
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Tennyson's In Memoriam is a collection of 131 poems, plus a prologue and epilogue, which reflected the long grieving process over the death of his close friend Arthur Hallam. During Tennyson's diary of grief, Charles Lyell's Principles of Geology was published, which profoundly influenced Tennyson's work and questioned his religious faith in the afterlife, for Lyell's principles stressed very long, slow natural processes for all geologic phenomena and that the Earth must therefore be very ancient. As such, Tennyson struggled with the religious ramifications of Lyell's scientific findings because it conflicted with his traditional religious beliefs about the age of the Earth, which also implied that his dear friend Hallam might not be in a better place because, quite possibly, heaven might not exist. Thus, In Memoriam reflects Tennyson's struggle to reconcile traditional religious faith and belief in immortality with the emerging theories of evolution and modern geology. Tennyson's diary of grief entertains the possibilities implicit within Lyell's scientific discoveries, yet he ultimately comes back to faith and hope. Lyell's tangible science challenges Tennyson's intangible faith, and new discoveries may finally prove Tennyson to be a selfish fool in denial. However, intangible emotions and faith are as real as tangible science. Are religious convictions and beliefs intangible yet very real facts or hopeful and selfish nonsense? Until someone comes back from the dead and tells us of the afterlife, we may never know, although many argue that's exactly what Christ did. Frankly, it's kind of depressing to think about nothingness beyond our Earthly realm, or that we are merely dust in the wind. Yet, hope may be a cruel, selfish rationalization or just plain denial.