The works in this volume trace nearly sixty years in the literary career of one of the nineteenth century's greatest poets, and show the wide variety of poetic forms he mastered. This selection gives some of Tennyson's most famous works in full, including Maud
, depicting a tragic love affair, and In Memoriam
, a profound tribute to his dearest friend. Excerpts from Idylls of the King
show a lifelong passion for Arthurian legend, also seen in the dream-like The Lady of Shalot
and in Morte d'Arthur
. Other works respond to contemporary events, such as Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington
, written in Tennyson's official role as Poet Laureate, or the patriotic Charge of the Light Brigade
, while Locksley Hall
provides a Utopian vision of the future, and the late poem Crossing the Bar
is a haunting meditation on his own mortality.
In his introduction, Christopher Ricks discusses aspects of Tennyson's life and works, his revisions of his poems, and his friendship with Arthur Hallam. This edition also includes a chronology, further reading and notes.