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Visions and Revisions

Studies in Literature and Culture


Edited By Grzegorz Czemiel, Justyna Galant, Anna Kędra-Kardela, Aleksandra Kędzierska and Marta Komsta

Collected under the theme of Visions and Revisions, the papers included in this volume examine different aspects of literature and culture of the Anglophone world. The first part gathers articles dealing with poetry of such epochs as the seventeenth century, the Victorian era and the modern times. Part two focuses on prose works representing such conventions and modes as the romance, the Gothic novel, the condition of England novel, Victorian and neo-Victorian fiction, the science fiction novel and gay fiction. Part three concerns various aspects of British and American culture, including the new media, drama and journalism, and advertising. In its diversity the volume reflects the dynamics of change in literature and culture, enabling the readers to investigate the multifaceted canon.
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Alfred Tennyson’s Visions of the Otherworlds and the Vocation of the Poet

← 20 | 21 →Ewa Młynarczyk


The choice between a life of artistic detachment and one of social involvement seems to have posed an important dilemma for the young Alfred Tennyson. While later on he was strongly critical of the concept of art for art’s sake of the 1860s,1 his own early poetry betrays a partiality for the idea of the poet as a lonely visionary dwelling in his world apart from society. It seems that Tennyson’s stance on this question underwent a considerable revision between the years 1832 and 1842. The aim of this paper is to trace the way in which this change has been reflected in the presentations of the otherworldly spaces in “The Hesperides” (1832) and “The Lotos-Eaters” (1832, 1842), in which the mythical garden of the Hesperides and the island of the lotos-eaters may be interpreted as standing for the inner world of imagination as opposed to the outer world of action.

Both “The Hesperides” and “The Lotos-Eaters” may be counted among the earliest examples of Tennyson’s original reworkings of mythological themes. Other similarities between the two poems may be found in their structure and imagery. Both poems open with a brief narrative frame, which is followed by the lyrical Choric Song. Both elaborate on the familiar Tennysonian motif of a fertile valley sheltered by the mountains with its exotic settings, luxuriant vegetation, and the pervading sense of idleness suggestive of oppressive heat. Moreover, in both cases, the questers from the outside world are lured with the sacred...

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