on 10 April 2009
This is a large and I think exhaustive anthology of the poetry of Alfred Lord Tennyson. It includes all the work you would expect in a collection from Tennyson. I have to admit it took some getting through as there is a lot of poetry on show here (over 600 pages), having said that it covers over 50 years of the author's work.
Tennyson is a very imaginative if sometimes a bit morbid poet but once you get into it, it become very enjoyable and takes you into another world.
on 6 May 2010
On a recent expedition to a seldom visited corner of my bookshelves, I came across an ancient edition of Tennyson's poems, undated, since the flyleaf had been eaten by mice; and from the condition of the rest of the book, an ornate American edition, almost unread. The whole volume was a triumph of style over substance (or at least utility), ornate binding, small florid typeface, crammed into double columns on each page. No guidance or foreword, only indices of titles and first lines!
What a contast in the modern Wordsworth edition, where even the poem, printed facing the title page("Crossing the Bar") has a brief note placing it in context!
As a social historian manque, and someone who cannot appreciate a work of art without a context, I found this book a useful revelation. The introduction by Karen Hodder, is informed and comprehensive, and accessible without talking down to the reader. It does not shirk from using the occasional long word, but it is not more demanding than the works it introduces. Both she, and the publisher are to be congratulated on eschewing the blight of the academic book - the footnote, a distraction in small print, especially when longer than the main text, and spilling across pages, in favour of "Headnotes", which naturally are read before the accompanying poem. My prayer is that the notes are not so good that they will make reading the actual poems superfluous to todays spoon-fed scholar of short attention span!
There is a story told about Tennyson, who was sitting at a dinner party, next to a young lady, who eagerly anicipated an evening of witty repartee from the literary lion. She was, alas, disappointed. The poet spoke only twice - once to complain to his companion "Madam, your stays creak" (at the soup course); and over the desert "Madam, I apologise, it is not your stays, it is my braces"!
I am glad to say that none of Ms Hodder's (literary) apparatus creaks!
on 4 April 2011
This is a comprehensive collection of Tennyson's works under one cover. I bought this edition having mislaid my original. I wanted to re-read In Memoriam. This very long poem is published in full, all too often versions are abridged nowadays, good to see the complete text. In the book there are one or two typographical errors (quite amusing in places); normally these associate with the first word of line. My only other minor complaint is the font size. It is quite small but the trade off is size and price of volume against this aspect. Overall a good book for anyone wanting a solid collection at a very affordable price (undergraduates take note!).
on 3 February 2016
More a reflection of the description than the content. Firstly it is not the complete works, which is maybe ok but 'The Works' does rather imply (to me) the complete set rather than selected poems. Secondly the quality of the copy is appalling and should not really be allowed. The description claims ' This work was reproduced from the original artefact, and remains as true to the original work as possible.' It does not say 'This work is unreadable in places and is of generally inferior print quality' which is far more helpful and benefits from the singular property of being accurate. One reviewer actually reported his enjoyment of 'In Memoriam' in this copy which is nothing short of a miracle as it does not contain this epic poem. Buyer very much beware.
on 18 July 2013
I had never read Tennyson prior to getting this book and choose it as a starting point. The language is very descriptive but given that he was writing in he 19th century it can sometimes take some work to understand his meaning. I felt like I was back at school reading some of these, struggling to interpret hidden means in a descriptive narrative. I still think its a good place to start reading Tennyson though as its a small, inexpensive paperback with a good selection of works to sink your intellectual teeth into.
on 10 January 2010
Karen Hodder reveals to us the man behind the poetry,by introducing the ten chronlogical sections of this book with a brief,but helpful headnote to each.This complements the informed introduction to this prolific writer,so aptly described as 'a genuinely questioning poet'.Superb value and worthy of its place on the bookshelf of all poetic afficionados.
on 5 April 2009
Pity that the book is laid out like a dull school text book. Why can't the classics be presented attractively. The boring presentation is probably why so many of my old classics ended up at jumble sales. Since I have been reintorduced to verse thanks to modern poets such as Laurence Phillips and Roger McGough, I have been thinking about the stuff we did at school. Picked up this new (if predictably boringly printed) edition in the sales and, thanks to the index, found my way to some old familiar friends. Lines almost forgotten rushed at me like old friends. The dramatic light brigade and arthur stuff is here, but better yet the shorter poems. Flow down cold rivulet to the sea has come to mind so many times over the years and I had forgotten it was Tennyson. To quote from my favourite page: O for the touch of a vanished hand and the sound of a voice that is still.
on 17 August 2014
In the world of English poetry, Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892) is one of the giants who sit alongside Shakespeare, Keats, Byron and Shelley... Educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, he wrote a substantial amount of poetry which includes: ‘Poems, Chiefly Lyrical’ (1839), ‘Poems’ (1833), ‘The Princess’ (1847), ‘In Memoriam’ (1850), ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ (1854), ‘Maud, and other poems’ (1855), ‘Idylls of the King’ (1859), ‘Ballads, and other poems’ (1880), and ‘Tiresias, and other poems’ (1885). His appeal may have dwindled with time but to not read his great works is surely a crime against literature!