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Alfred Lord Tennyson

Alfred Lord Tennyson

We take for granted certain maxims in the English language, paying very little heed to the processes that coin them in the first place. We may excuse the beauty in the language as talent or sheer luck. But should we really investigate, the beauty in a maxim may sometimes lie in the life experience of the writer of himself. Therein, the essence of the meaning becomes even more poignant.

Lord Alfred Tennyson is one such writer. Tennyson was no exception to the adage, that pen is mightier than the sword. He was also a victim of criticism. Perhaps that was what drove him to strive for the best in himself.  In 1832, Poems by Alfred Tennyson was published. The poems were critically received. Critics tore  apart  the  quality of  writing  as inconsistent and  lacking polish. Tennyson, withdrew himself and ceased publishing his works for a good nine years. Perhaps it was through this criticism that Tennyson eventually went on to write his best, leading to his appointment at poet laureate. Tennyson’s gift to literature was then beyond his published works. It was the ability to overcome criticism and turn that negativity to some of his finest writing.

Tennyson mostly associated his writing with his own life experiences, not necessarily the joyful, but even those that were grievous and painful. The sudden death of his best friend in 1832, led Tennyson to produce his more well-known works. In Memoriam, became one of the cornerstones of Tennyson’s poetry.

Perhaps remarkable of Tennyson’s talent, is that several quotes from his poems have become staple maxims in the English language. In 2012, the last line from the monologue, Ulysses was engraved in the Games Village at the London Olympics.

As much as these quotations are taken for granted and have come very much part of the English language, it is that very essence Tennyson’s’ creativity that has guaranteed his contribution to literature will never cease.

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