Death and Sex from Tennyson’s Early Poetry to In Memoriam

  • Sylvia Manning


Some of the poetry Tennyson wrote before the death of Arthur Hallam is intrinsically interesting; the entire corpus is interesting as it contextualises the poetry written in late 1833 and after. I propose to map the appearances of death and sex in the early work not to be inclusive, but rather to point out the prominent codes, conventions, and gender associations in Tennyson’s representation of two fundamentals of life not yet very real to him, with a view to representational changes that will emerge in In Memoriam when real experience supervenes.


Representational Change Male Threat Gender Association Arabian Night Allegorical Interpretation 
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  1. 1.
    See Christopher Ricks’ discussion of ‘To J. S.’, in Tennyson (New York: Macmillan, 1972) pp. 28–9. Or compare the passionless propriety of Tennyson’s letter of 15 March 1831, to his uncle Charles, in The Letters of Al fred Lord Tenriysort, Editor by Cecil Y. Lang and Edgar F. Shannon, Jr. (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1981) vol. 1, p. 53.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    All quotations are taken from The Poems of Teniiyson, Editor by Christopher Ricks (London: Longman, 1969).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Noted bv Ricks. in Poems. D. 382.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    GerhardJoseph notices that after Hallam’s death the deserted lovers change from women to men and female protagonists become rare. Gerhard Joseph, Tennysonian Love: The Strange Diagonal (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1969) p. 72.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Regina Barreca 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sylvia Manning

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