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Victorian AfterlivesThe Shaping of Influence in Nineteenth-Century Literature$
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Robert Douglas-Fairhurst

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780198187271

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198187271.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 January 2022

Tennyson’s Sympathy

Tennyson’s Sympathy

Chapter:
(p.182) 3 Tennyson’s Sympathy
Source:
Victorian Afterlives
Author(s):

Robert Douglas-Fairhurst (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198187271.003.0004

The sense of incomplete achievement, or achieved incompleteness, was drawn out through Tennyson's protracted attachment to individual poems. In his methods of composition and his ways of speaking, Tennyson was reluctant to settle for his own conclusions. His working manuscripts show how frequently Tennyson was tempted to abandon his poems, and how stubbornly he refused to take his own uncertainty as the last word on even the most permanently troubled and incomplete of them. Hallam's essay ‘On Sympathy’ adapts the mechanisms of Hartleyan psychology to question how two souls could ‘associate’ together in a sympathetic union. One danger which Tennyson regularly confronted in his career was the possibility that individual poems can similarly over-extend themselves, whether by going on too long in their compositional development, or by giving disproportionate space to concerns that were unduly confessional and idiosyncratic for their public forms.

Keywords:   Tennyson, poems, Hallam, On Sympathy, Hartleyan psychology

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