Tennyson: His Art and Relation to Modern Life - Stopford A. Brooke

Tennyson: His Art and Relation to Modern Life

By Stopford A. Brooke

  • Release Date: 2013-08-05
  • Genre: Poetry
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Tennyson: His Art and Relation to Modern Life Stopford A. Brooke Book Review Score: ★★★★★ 5/5 stars

Rev. Stopford A. Brooke has penned a scholarly book analyzing the work of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, one of the United Kingdom's greatest poets, by examining his work as an artist in "his relation to beauty, to his relation to the Christian faith, and to his relation to the movement of humanity."

Mostly in a chronological order, Brooke provides critical analysis of Tennyson's work, including such famous poems as The Princess, In Memoriam, Maud, Idylls of the King, Enoch Arden, Aylmer's Field, Sea Dreams, and many more. 

From the original New York Times review of the of the book, as published: "If the reader who does not care about forming his conclusions at first hand, turns to Tennyson with a fuller appreciation of the music in his magic verse, and a more intelligent knowledge of his lofty aims from having read Mr. Brooke’s handsome volume, the purpose of the author will have been fulfilled. And, if the passages of pure criticism such as occur in the chapters on Tennyson's treatment of nature, and on the poems of his old age could be extracted from their voluminous surroundings, they would be found to give a very fair idea of the poet, although we confess that it seems a rather dreary and futile task to pin down his rare and lovely quality with the inadequacy of criticism and analysis.

"There have been, or so it seems at this short perspective, poets greater than he, but they have been few, and through the years of his prime he stood practically alone, the distinguished and natural successor to Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, and Keats, with a charm and richness all his own, neither borrowed nor communicable. He has stood for his age in English poetry, and has dignified and ennobled it by the character of his art. He is dead, and his successors will recognize his worth; but it is scarcely to these that Mr. Brooke's criticism will speak.

"It would be supremely unjust, yet one perceives the temptation, to rank Mr. Brooke at some of his more aggravating moments with those of whom he speaks with uncertain temper as writing incessantly about literature and rarely creating any, 'just such a class as exists to-day, reveling in their academic excellence; who do two things, both equally foolish; overblame what is new, or overpraise it, having special enmities or special affections, and equally damaging those they abuse and those they praise. The one thing of which, as a body, they are almost incapable, is the recognition of that which is really good, which has in it life, continuance, and power.'”

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