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The Victorian Poet and His Readers: The Strange Case of Tennyson’s «The Princess»

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Magdalena Pypeć

The author follows the interpretative pursuits of nineteenth-century readers and analyses Tennyson’s The Princess through the prism of their critical ideas. She analyses Tennyson’s reconsideration of gender binaries and women’s rights as well as the poem’s reliance on the aesthetics of the grotesque and its metapoetic games. The book rests on the premise that literature cannot be studied in isolation from its immediate socio-historical context. As such, poetry becomes an outcome of social and cultural negotiations, moving «in a strange diagonal» between the author and his public.
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All references to Tennyson’s The Princess. A Medley, unless otherwise indicated, will be to Christopher Ricks, Tennyson. A Selected Edition, California: University of California Press, 1992. All citations of Tennyson’s other poems come from Tennyson’s Poetry. Ed. Robert W. Hill. New York, London: W.W. Norton & Company, 1999. All citations of Hallam Tennyson, Alfred Lord Tennyson. A Memoir by His Son. London: Macmillan and Co., 1899 will appear as Memoir.

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