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  • Published: 15 November 2014
  • ISBN: 9781845950767
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 464
  • RRP: $39.99


To Strive, to Seek, to Find

An enthralling new biography of Lord Alfred Tennyson: the major poet of his age, and the Queen's Laureate from 1850 until his death in 1892.

Alfred Lord Tennyson, Queen Victoria's favourite poet, commanded a wider readership than any other of his time. His ascendancy was neither the triumph of pure genius nor an accident of history:he skilfully crafted his own career and his relationships with his audience. Fame and recognition came, lavishly and in abundance, but the hunger for more never left him. Like many successful Victorians, he was a provincial determined to make good in the capital while retaining his regional strengths. One of eleven children, he remained close to his extended family and never lost his Lincolnshire accent.Resolving never to be anything except 'a poet', he wore his hair long, smoked incessantly and sported a cloak and wide-brimmed Spanish hat.

Tennyson ranged widely in his poetry, turning his interests in geology, evolution and Arthurian legend into verse, but much of his workrelates to his personal life. The tragic loss of Arthur Hallam, a brilliant friend and fellow Apostle at Cambridge, fed into some of his most successful and best-known poems. It took Tennyson seventeen years to complete his great elegy for Hallam, In Memoriam,a work which established his fame and secured his appointment as Poet Laureate.

The poet who wrote The Lady of Shalott and The Charge of the Light Brigade has become a permanent part of our culture. This enjoyable and thoughtful new biography shows him as a Romantic as well as a Victorian, exploring both the poems and Tennyson's attempts at play writing, as well as the pressures of his age and the personal relationships that made the man.

  • Published: 15 November 2014
  • ISBN: 9781845950767
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 464
  • RRP: $39.99

About the author

John Batchelor

John Batchelor has recently retired from the University of Newcastle and is now Emeritus Professor there. Formerly Joseph Cowen Professor of English Literature at Newcastle, he was also a visiting Professor of the University of Lancaster and previously a Fellow of New College Oxford. His books include biographies of Joseph Conrad and John Ruskin, monographs on the work of Virginia Woolf and H.G. Wells, and a study of the Edwardian novel. His most recent book, Lady Trevelyan and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, is a lively biography of Pauline Trevelyan who established a salon of the arts in Wallington, Northumberland.

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Praise for Tennyson

This is a biography for everybody interested in poetry

Antonia Fraser, Mail on Sunday

Batchelor’s book is a useful reminder of what makes Tennyson a brilliant poet: it points the reader back in the direction of the poems

Emma Hogan, New Statesman

John Batchelor has written a biography which is commendably careful, highly readable and wholly sensible. It should stand, in years to come, as the most advisable entry point into this most inscrutable of poets


By far the most serious and just biography of Tennyson in a long time

Wall Street Journal

It's a pleasure when a biographer is as good a reader of poems as of life

New York Times Book Review

Batchelor tells Tennyson’s story with verve, vigour and assurance and transforms our view of him. His book is as much a reading of the Victorian age as of its favourite poet

Steve Barfield, Lady

Batchelor pinpoints the amazing alignment of Tennyson’s verse with the mood of Victorian Britain at large. His scholarly approach results in densely written text but his devotion to his subject and the period drenches the book with intimacy and heartfelt affection

Jeffrey Taylor, Sunday Express

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