Title: The Lady of Shalott
Author: Alfred Tennyson
First published January 1, 1833
ISBN: 9780582527720 (ISBN10: 0582527724)
She lives a life of solitude and mystery… ‘The Lady of Shalott’ is a captivating ballad by Alfred Tennyson that tells the story of a young woman who is mysteriously cursed.
Set in medieval times, the poem is inspired by the tale of ‘La Damigella di Scalot’ and follows the tragic fate of the Lady of Shalott, who is imprisoned in a tower and can only view the outside world through a mirror. This poignant work is renowned for its romanticism and symbolic imagery, and is a testament to Tennyson’s literary genius.
Alfred Lord Tennyson was a celebrated poet who was appointed Poet Laureate in 1850. He continued to write poetry throughout his life, and his legacy lives on as one of the greatest poets of the Victorian era.
About the Author
Alfred Tennyson, also known as Alfred Lord Tennyson, was born in Somersby, Lincolnshire. He was the fourth child of George Tennyson, a clergyman, and Elizabeth Tennyson.
Tennyson attended Louth Grammar School in 1816 but did not enjoy it. He was homeschooled until he was 18 and then went to Trinity College, Cambridge with his two brothers.
Together with Charles, he published his first book, Poems by Two Brothers, the same year.
His second book was published in 1830. Tennyson’s best friend, Arthur Henry Hallam, who was engaged to his sister, passed away in 1833.
This event inspired some of Tennyson’s greatest works, including In Memoriam A.H.H. and The Lady of Shalott.
In 1850, Tennyson became Poet Laureate, following in the footsteps of William Wordsworth. He married his childhood friend, Emily Sellwood, and they had two children named Hallam and Lionel.
In 1884, he was raised to the peerage and became Baron Tennyson of Aldworth. He was the first Englishman to receive such an honor solely for literary achievement.
Tennyson continued to write poetry and even wrote a number of plays in the 1870s. He passed away in 1892 at the age of 83 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.
Alfred Tennyson’s “The Lady of Shalott,” first published in January 1833, is a classic poem that has endured through time. As one of the most beloved poets of the Victorian era, Tennyson’s works have inspired readers for generations.
The poem tells the story of a young woman, the Lady of Shalott, who is imprisoned in a tower and under a curse that forbids her to view the outside world. She spends her days weaving images that she sees reflected in a mirror until she falls in love with a knight who rides by on his horse.
Breaking her curse, the Lady sets out to follow the knight, only to meet her tragic end. Tennyson’s poem is a hauntingly beautiful work that captures the essence of a bygone era.
In true Victorian style, Tennyson writes with intricate detail, employing rich descriptions and vivid imagery to bring the story to life. The Lady of Shalott is the quintessential tragic heroine a figure whose longing for freedom brings about her untimely demise.
The poem is not without its flaws, however. Some readers may find Tennyson’s style too ornate, and the poem’s pacing can be slow at times.
Additionally, the themes of female oppression and the romanticization of death may seem outdated to modern readers. Overall, however, “The Lady of Shalott” is a work that stands the test of time.
Tennyson’s masterful storytelling and lush language create a world that readers can easily become lost in. Historical and cultural significance is another aspect of the poem that cannot be overlooked, as it provides insight into the values and beliefs of the Victorian era.
In conclusion, Alfred Tennyson’s “The Lady of Shalott” is a must-read for lovers of romantic poetry and those interested in the cultural nuances of the Victorian era. Although the work has its flaws, the beauty of Tennyson’s writing and the tragic tale of the Lady will stay with readers long after they have finished the poem.
The Washington Post gives this classic work a solid 4 out of 5 stars.