Biography of Alfred Tennyson

Early Life

The fourth of twelve children, Alfred Tennyson was born on August 6, 1809 in Somersby, Lincolnshire in England. Though Tennyson was descended from a royal line, he lived a middle class life as a rector's son. Alfred Tennyson's father, George Tennyson, was largely responsible for the educational prowess of his children. Because of this, Alfred Tennyson began writing poetry as a child and published his first collection, along with his brothers, at 17 years of age. Religiously, Tennyson professed to accept the teachings of agnosticism and pantheism rather than traditional Christian beliefs of the time. Philosophically, he was known for his adherence to Spinoza, the great ex-Jewish thinker and author of the work "Ethics", and Bruno, also a greatly noted philosopher.

Education and Early Career

After attending Louth Grammar School from 1816 to 1820, Tennyson was enrolled at Scaitcliffe School. He also attended Englefield Green and the King Edward VI Grammar school in Louth. In 1827, when Tennyson was only 18 years of age, he was enrolled in Cambridge's Trinity College. While at Trinity College, he was inducted into a secret society known as the Cambridge Apostles, an intellectual society formed to further important academic discussions. In that year, Tennyson released another publication, often considered his first. His work, "Poems by Two Brothers" consisted of his and his brother, Charles, earlier poetry. Two years later, in 1829, Tennyson received the Chancellor's Gold Medal for his poem, "Timbuctoo" and in 1830 Tennyson released his first collection of completely individual work which he called "Poems Chiefly Lyrical." This collection earned Tennyson acclamation among some of the most influential poets and writers of his day. Unfortunately, because of the sudden death of his father, Tennyson left Cambridge without completing his degree and returned to his home in Lincolnshire to care for his family.

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Career and Success in Poetry

In 1833, just three years after his first solo publication, Tennyson released his second collection of poetry entitled "The Lady of Shallot." Though the book received much criticism, Tennyson published again ten years later and before that, created such masterpieces as "In the Valley of Cauteretz" and In Memoriam A. H. H.", both of which were inspired by the unfortunate passing of his brother-in-law and friend, Arthur Hallam and the latter of which was not released until 1850. In 1842, Tennyson released two more collections, including masterpieces like "Ulysses" and "Tithonus." In 1850, Alfred Tennyson was appointed the Poet Laureate after the death of William Wordsworth. He remained in this position until he died in the year 1982 at 83 years old. Alfred Tennyson held the position of Poet Laureate longer than any other before or after him. He was laid to rest at Westminster Abbey and All Saints' Church in Freshwater, England built a monument in his honour. Posthumously, Tennyson was awarded a baronetcy by Queen Victoria, who greatly admired his work and his poetic genius. Lord Alfred Tennyson was followed by his son, Hallam Tennyson, who later went on to be the Governor General of Australia.



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