Lord Tennyson and W.B Yeats: A Comparison Of Women
Poetry, like other forms of written expression, is subject to change with the progression of time and expansion of thought. Victorian poetry and Modern poetry are two genres separated by time, but connected by subject matter. Lord Tennyson, a well-known Victorian poet and W.B Yeats, a respected Modern poet, are both men who found inspiration in the female form. How these two men interpreted that inspiration and expressed it in their poetry differ. By better understanding these men’s personal histories with women, in unison with the different elements of their poetic genres, the different approaches to their image of women can be seen. The accumulation of various influences, experiences and inspirations result in the works like, “Mariana” by Lord Tennyson and “No Second Troy” by W.B Yeats.
To begin, Alfred Tennyson was the fourth son in a large family with twelve children. Alfred’s brothers each had particular struggles they had to overcome, one had an opium addiction while another regularly fought with their father, the Reverend Dr. George Tennyson. Alfred Tennyson’s father was the son of a wealthy landowner, but was disinherited when he instead wished to join the clergy. Alfred’s childhood home was very chaotic by many accounts and full of eccentricities. George Tennyson tutored his sons in classical and modern languages to prepare them for university. Before Alfred left for Cambridge, he had already published a book with his brother Charles titled,” Poems By Two Brothers”. Many gifted undergraduates drifted towards him and encouraged him to write poetry seriously. Unfortunately, Alfred had to leave college in 1831 due to financial issues. He published a few works while he was at home but they were not popular, however in 1850 he gained recognition with his work “In Memoriam” and became poet laureate. During this twenty year struggle, Alfred wished to marry Emily Sellwood, whom he had affection for since 1836 but due to a lack of money, had to postpone their marriage until 1850. Knowing the background in which Lord Alfred Tennyson came from, understanding the period in which he waited to marry his sweetheart, Emily, and then looking at his poetry, several assumptions can be made.
Continuing, W.B Yeats was born William Butler Yeats to an Anglo-Irish family in Dublin. J.B Yeats, William’s father abandoned his job in law to take up painting. The family moved to London in 1874 and returned to Dublin in 1880. J.B Yeats was a religious skeptic but he did believe in the “religion of art”. Yeats was religious by temperament but unable to believe in Christian orthodoxy. He spent his life trying to compensate for his lost religion. Having spent the majority of his child and then adult life in Dublin, London and Sligo, each of the places contributed to his poetic development. In Dublin he founded the National Literature Society. Yeats had been influenced by Irish nationalism, and even though he did...