Tennyson's Rapture: Transformation In The Victorian Dramatic Monologue by Cornelia D. J. PearsallTennyson's Rapture: Transformation In The Victorian Dramatic Monologue by Cornelia D. J. Pearsall

Tennyson's Rapture: Transformation In The Victorian Dramatic Monologue

byCornelia D. J. Pearsall

Hardcover | November 29, 2007

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In the wake of the death of his friend Arthur Henry Hallam, the subject of In Memoriam, Alfred Tennyson wrote a range of intricately connected poems, many of which feature pivotal scenes of rapture, or being carried away. This book explores Tennyson's representation of rapture as a radicalmechanism of transformation-theological, social, political, or personal-and as a figure for critical processes in his own poetics. The poet's fascination with transformation is figured formally in the genre he is credited with inventing, the dramatic monologue. Tennyson's Rapture investigates thepoet's previously unrecognized intimacy with the theological movements in early Victorian Britain that are the acknowledged roots of contemporary Pentacostalism, with its belief in the oncoming Rapture, and its formative relation to his poetic innovation. Tennyson's work recurs persistently as wellto classical instances of rapture, of mortals being borne away by immortals. Pearsall develops original readings of Tennyson's major classical poems through concentrated attention to his profound intellectual investments in advances in philological scholarship and archeological exploration,including pressing Victorian debates over whether Homer's raptured Troy was a verifiable site, or the province of the poet's imagination. Tennyson's attraction to processes of personal and social change is bound to his significant but generally overlooked Whig ideological commitments, which areilluminated by Hallam's political and philosophical writings, and a half-century of interaction with William Gladstone. Pearsall shows the comprehensive engagement of seemingly apolitical monologues with the rise of democracy over the course of Tennyson's long career. Offering a new approach toreading all Victorian dramatic monologues, this book argues against a critical tradition that sees speakers as unintentionally self-revealing and ignorant of the implications of their speech. Tennyson's Rapture probes the complex aims of these discursive performances, and shows how the ambitions ofspeakers for vital transformations in themselves and their circumstances are not only articulated in, but attained through, the medium of their monologues.
Cornelia Pearsall is Associate Professor of English at Smith College. The author of articles on Auden, Browning, and others, she is completing a book on the formative associations between poetry and late Victorian imperial expansion. She is also working on a collection of essays on British war poetry, and a book on the culture of Vi...
Title:Tennyson's Rapture: Transformation In The Victorian Dramatic MonologueFormat:HardcoverDimensions:416 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.98 inPublished:November 29, 2007Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195150546

ISBN - 13:9780195150544


Table of Contents

Introduction: Rapt OrationPart One: The Performance of the Dramatic MonologueChapter 1. The Poetics and Politics of the Dramatic MonologuePoetics: Persuasive SimilitudePolitics: Whig PoeticsChapter 2. Victorian RaptureVictorian End TimesThe Rapture of St. Simeon StylitesSimeon's Afterlife: The Message of the ButterflyPart Two: Unreal City: Victorians in TroyChapter 3. The Knowledge of TroyFeeding the Heart: Educating TennysonLocating Victorian TroyChapter 4. The Knowledge of UlyssesThe Character of the Homeric Statesman"Ulysses" and the Rapture of TroyPart Three: The Composition of the Song-built CityChapter 5. Tithonus and the Uses of Masculine BeautyTrojan AestheticsThe Rapture of TithonusChapter 6. Tithonus, Tiresias and Song-built CivicsTithonus and Trojan AristocracyThe Rapture of TiresiasConclusion: Tennyson's ApotheosisNotesIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Pearsall's textured, responsive and resourceful readings stand comparison with the best in the field. This is deeply informed and fully pondered critical scholarship and its publication will reconfigure the field of debate about some of Tennyson's most-studied poems--and thereby aboutVictorian poetry's most-theorized genre, the dramatic monologue, which Pearsall restores to its roots in civic eloquence."--Herbert F. Tucker, University of Virginia