Tuesday, June 2, 2015


Moved on from Pope's magisterial Essay On Man (finally!) to the uncertainties of Tennyson's In Memoriam. I taught extracts from Tennyson's finest sequence some years ago for 'A' level and I'm puzzled as to why I haven't revisited it since then. Probably that's down to not having a good edition, a failing I recently remedied by purchasing Tennyson: A Selected Edition edited by Christopher Ricks. The only drawback to the Selected is its sheer chunkiness which means you've got to find some way to hold it comfortably as you savour its delights. But that's a price worth paying for the excellent editorial notes.

Not sure if Tennyson is fashionable in academic circles these days but pretty sure I don't really care. If you don't find yourself deeply moved by In Memoriam you're a fool. The only drawback to the sequence I can think of is that you inevitably find yourself remembering your own dead as you read and that's not exactly a drawback at all.

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