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Biography of Alfred Lord Tennyson

Portrait of Alfred Lord Tennyson

Alfred Tennyson was a Victorian poet and Poet Laureate.

When and Where was he Born?

6th August 1809, Somersby Rectory, Lincolnshire, England.

Family Background:

Alfred Lord Tennyson was the fourth of twelve children of George, the Rector of Somersby and Elizabeth who were a talented but unhappy couple.

Education:

Louth Grammar School, where he hated the sadistic Headmaster, the Reverend J. Waite. Trinity College, Cambridge University.

Timeline of Alfred Lord Tennyson:

1823: Poems by Alfred and his brother Charles were published by Jacksons in Louth, Lincolnshire.

1829: He wins the Chancellor’s Gold Medal at Trinity College, Cambridge with “Timbuctoo”. He becomes a member of “The Apostles” group. Spends Christmas at Somersby with his college friend Arthur Hallam.

1832: Alfred Tennyson visits the Rhineland in Germany with Hallam.

1833: His work “Poems” is slammed by the critics in “The Quarterly Review” for being “too sentimental”. Arthur Hallam dies in Vienna in September.

1835: Death of his grandfather George.

1836: He falls in love with Emily Sellwood at his brother’s wedding.

1837: His parents and the rest of the family leave Somersby and move to Beech Hill House, at High Beech, Near Epping in Essex.

1840: The family moves to Tunbridge Wells.

1841: The family moves to Boxley, near Maidstone in Kent.

1842: His sisters Emily and Cecilia marry.

1843: Collapse of the woodcarving business in which Tennyson had invested most of his inheritance. He moves to Cheltenham in Gloucestershire.

1845: He is granted a pension from the Civil List by the Government.

1848: He visited Malvern in Worcestershire.

1850: Publication of “In Memoriam” which had been inspired by the untimely death of his friend Hallam. He becomes Poet Laureate, succeeding William Wordsworth. He marries Emily Sarah Sellwood.

1851: The Tennysons move to Chapel House, Twickenham in March.

1852: Birth of son Hallam Tennyson in August.

1853: The Tennyson’s move to Farringford in the Isle of Wight during November.

1854: Birth of Son Lionel.

1855: Publication of “Maud and Other Poems”.

1858: Tennyson visits Norway alone.

1859: He visits Portugal.

1860: Julia Cameron goes to live at Farringford.

1861: Alfred Lord Tennyson visits the Pyrenees with his family.

1862: Received by Queen Victoria at Osborne House in the Isle of Wight.

1865: Death of Tennyson’s mother.

1868: He begins to build a summer residence at Aldworth in Sussex in April.

1875: Publication of “Queen Mary”.

1884: Tennyson takes his seat in the House of Lords as the First Baron Tennyson. His play “Becket” is published.

1885: “Tiresias and Other Poems” is published.

1886: Death of Lionel.

1892: Dies.

(1893): First performance of Tennyson’s play “Becket”.

When and Where Did he Die?

6th October 1892, Aldworth, Surrey, England from complications due to influenza.

Age at Death:

83.

Written Works:

1827: ” Poems by Two Brothers” (Alfred and Charles).
1829: “Timbuctoo”
1830: “Poems Chiefly Lyrical”.
1832: “The Lady of Shallot”. “The Lotus Eaters”.
1842: “Poems”.
1847: “The Princess”.
1850: “In Memoriam”
1852: “Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington”.
1854: “The Charge of the Light Brigade”.
1855: “Maud and Other Poems”.
1859: “The Idylls of the King”.
1864: “Idylls of the Hearth”.
1865: “A Selection from the Works”.
1869: “The Holy Grail and Other Poems”.
1872: “Gareth and Lynette”.
1876: Queen Mary”.
1875: “The Lover’s Tale”.
1879: “The Falcon”.
1880: “Ballads and Other Poems”.
1881: “The Cup”.
1885: “Tiresias and Other Poems”
1892: “The Foresters”. “The Death of Oenone”. “Akbar’s Dream”.
1893: “Becket”.

Marriage:

1850 to Emily Sarah Sellwood.

Site of Grave:

Poet’s Corner, Westminster Abbey, Westminster , London, England.

Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey, London
(copyright Anthony Blagg)

Places of Interest:

CORNWALL:

Tintagel was inspiration for the “Idylls of the King”.

CUMBRIA:

Honeymooned at Tent Lodge, Coniston.

LINCOLNSHIRE:

Some personal effects at the Usher Gallery, Lincoln.

SOMERSET:

Honeymooned at Clevedon House.

SUFFOLK:

Visited Edward Fitzgerald at Dunwich.

ISLE OF WIGHT:

Tennyson Down Cliff Walk, Farringford.
Lived at Farrington House, Freshwater.
Summer House at Maiden’s Croft Meadows, Freshwater.
Tennyson Display Room in Carrisbrooke Castle, Newport.

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