Biography Of Alfred Lord Tennyson

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Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892), English poet often regarded as the chief representative of the Victorian age in poetry. Tennyson succeeded Wordsworth as Poet Laureate in 1850.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson was born on August 5, 1809 in Somersby, Lincolnshire. His father, George Clayton Tennyson, a clergyman and rector, suffered from depression and was notoriously absentminded. Alfred began to write poetry at an early age in the style of Lord Byron. After spending four unhappy years in school he was tutored at home. Tennyson then studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he joined the literary club 'The Apostles' and met Arthur Hallam, who became his closest friend. Tennyson publishedPoems, Chiefly Lyrical, in 1830, which... View More »

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His father and brother Arthur made their cases worse by excessive drinking. His brother Edward had to be confined in a mental institution after 1833, and he himself spent a few weeks under doctors' care in 1843. In the late twenties hisfather's physical and mental condition worsened, and he became paranoid, abusive, and violent.
In 1827 Tennyson escaped the troubled atmosphere of his home when he followed his two older brothers to Trinity College, Cambridge, where his tutor was William Whewell — see nineteenth-century philosophy. Because they had published Poems by Two Brothers in 1827 and each won university prizes for poetry (Alfred winning the Chancellor's Gold Medal in 1828 for ÒTimbuctooÓ) the Tennyson brothers became well known at Cambridge. In 1829 The Apostles, an undergraduate club, whose members remained Tennyson's friends all his life, invited him to join. The group, which met to discuss major philosophical and other issues, included Arthur Henry Hallam, James Spedding, Edward Lushington (who later married Cecilia Tennyson), and Richard Monckton Milnes — all eventually famous men who merited entries in the Dictionary of National Biography.
Arthur Hallam's was the most important of these friendships. Hallam, another precociously brilliant Victorian young man like Robert Browning, John Stuart Mill, and Matthew Arnold, was uniformly recognized by his contemporaries (including William Gladstone, his best friend at Eton) as having unusual promise. He and Tennyson knew each other only four years, but their intense friendship had major influence on the poet. On a ...

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