Writing to Tennyson in 1833, Francis Garden, one of Tennyson’s friends from undergraduate days at Cambridge, spoke of ‘the principles of doubt which I have heard you apply to Christianity’ (Lang and Shannon 1982–90:I.103). Tennyson had dramatised his religious doubt in an 1830 poem, ‘Supposed Confessions of a Second-Rate Sensitive Mind’, where the speaker tells of his trauma at having lost the ‘common faith’ of ‘Christians with happy countenances’ (33, 20):
I am void,
Dark, formless, utterly destroyed.
Why not believe then? Why not yet
Anchor thy frailty there, where man
Hath moored and rested? Ask the sea
At midnight, when the crisp slope waves
After the tempest, rib and fret
The broad-imbasèd beach, why he
Slumbers not like a mountain tarn?
KeywordsGrand Narrative Religious Doubt Rational Spirit Fourth Book Romantic Idea
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.