This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Tennyson, Browning, Arnold And Carlyle Essay

2113 words - 8 pages

Tennyson, Browning, Arnold and Carlyle

Thomas Carlyle writes in Characteristics that, "The healthy know not of their health, but only the sick"(923). He extends this medical/biological aphorism to the social and ideological world of Victorian England. Carlyle thoroughly goes over the question, What is the state of England? He finds that England is in a state of transition, and while the old is no longer useful to the society, the new has not yet been clearly defined. This void contributes to problems of poverty, social graces, and spiritual/social direction in 19th C. England. Carlyle goes on to discuss the nature and effects of the problems he identifies in the culture, and encourages the members of the society to remain hopeful of finding a solution. Carlyle identifies problems and trends in the society by close observation. In his contemporary poets are correlations to Carlyle's own work. Alfred Tennyson, Robert Browning, Matthew Arnold, Dante Rossetti, and Algernon Swinburn all exhibit traits in their poetry that relate to Carlyle's ideas about the condition of England.

Carlyle wrote that literature is "a branch of Religion," and believed that in Victorian England "it is the only branch that still shows any greenness; and, as some thing, must one day become the main stem"(926). It makes sense, when Carlyle gives such huge import and value to literature, to look for ways that his ideas are evinced in the poetry of his time. During his age, poets were becoming more socially responsible. They incorporated themes and ideas that they envisioned to be solutions to at least some of the problems they saw around them. Often they simply gave voice to the problems they witnessed, allowing the issue to be discussed rather than ignored.


Tennyson is a poet who's importance to England and English society is undisputable. He, too, exhibits Carlyle's characteristics in his verse. In "Ulysses," Tennyson writes a dramatic monologue from the point of view of the old Greek hero who was stranded away from home for twenty years. In Homer's Odyssey, Ulysses (aka Odyssius) is blessed by the gods. His wife, Penelope, remains devoted to him and beautiful, despite the hoard of suitors that overrun their household in his absence. But the Ulysses that Tennyson gives us is quite different. Ulysses is pessimistic and dissatisfied. He is critical of Penelope, and says that he doles out "unequal laws unto a savage race"(1067). This is not Homer's noble hero. This is a Victorian Ulysses, caught up in a mire of self-awareness and self-doubt. Carlyle writes, "Never since the beginning of Time was there ... so intensely self-conscious a Society"(925). Ulysses is aware of his age, of the age of his country, and of the manifold failures of his society, mirroring the Victorian concerns of the poet. Tennyson also upholds Carlyle's idea that eventually there will be answers. Carlyle writes that although Victorian England is in a state of transition, and nothing can...

Find Another Essay On Tennyson, Browning, Arnold and Carlyle

Derry Ellis Essay

954 words - 4 pages writers and most respected in the second half of the twentieth century, Matthew Arnold is the most unique out of all of them. Part of his life was dedicated to writing poetry, but many of the same values, and attitudes that are express in his poems are more balanced formulation in his style. English writer G.K. Chesterton said that under his surface raillery Arnold was, “even in the age of Carlyle and Ruskin, perhaps the most serious man alive

Victorian Literature Essay

524 words - 2 pages the free play of imaginative life. For Alfred, Lord TENNYSON, the longing found ambivalent expression in his early lyrics; his major work, In Memoriam (1850), translated personal grief into an affirmation of religious faith. Matthew ARNOLD, particularly in his poem Empedocles on Etna (1852), revealed how the spirit of his own age weakened emotional vitality. Although concerned with presenting his personal form of religious faith, Robert BROWNING

How does Tennyson bring mental pessimism and Victorian optimism in his use of myths and legends?

1243 words - 5 pages "And we are here as on a darkling plainSwept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,Where ignorant armies clash by night."[Dover Beach: Mathew Arnold]"The year is at the springAnd day is at the morn, …God's in heaven,All is right with world."[Pippa Passes: Robert Browning]These above quoted two quotations are from two renowned poets of Victorian arena show the contrast attitudes to their time. Browning is very optimistic of

The Victorian Age Of Literature Essay - masters - essay

857 words - 4 pages novelists and poets include: Matthew Arnold, the Bronte sisters, Christina Rossetti, Joseph Conrad, Robert Browning, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens, Benjamin Disraeli, George Eliot, George Meredith, Elizabeth Gaskell, George Gissing, Richard Jefferies, Thomas Hardy, A. E. Housman, Rudyard Kipling, Robert Louis Stevenson, Bram Stoker, Algernon Charles Swinburne, Philip Meadows Taylor, Alfred Lord Tennyson biography, William Thackeray, Anthony Trollope, George MacDonald, G.M. Hopkins, Oscar Wilde, Lewis Carroll.

Victorian Age

846 words - 3 pages Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1821), an account of his lonely youth and of the sublime dreams and appalling nightmares that had haunted his existence. Thomas Carlyle is an example of the Victorian historian, both at his best and at his worst. A prejudiced theorist and an inveterate sermonist, he developed a half-biblical, half-Germanic style. He made his mark with Sartor Resartus (1833-35), in which he proclaimed his personal despair but

Victorian Literature

873 words - 4 pages The Victorian era for poetry and literature was an important step along the rocks of English development. Among such writers were those famous ones such as Thomas Macaulay, Thomas Carlyle, and Matthew Arnold. They wrote about the world that they lived in and all the changes that were rapidly modifying the earth. Matthew Arnold wrote a poem titled Dover Beach in which he expressed his views and Thomas Carlyle wrote The Condition of England in

Robert Browning

1672 words - 7 pages Rossetti, Charles Kingsley, and Tennyson. Men and Women was published in 1855. It was a two-volume collection of his best poetry. This collection of poems is to believe to be his most complete work written to this day. The critics that read this collection was unhappy with this work and once again had nothing nice to say about it although it did contain some of Browning’s best poetry. On June 29, 1961 Elizabeth Barrett Browning died and

Elizabeth Barret Browning

1118 words - 4 pages ).      Everett, Glenn. The Life of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. [Online] Available (1,2).      Forester, Margaret. Selceted Poems Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Baltimore. 1988      From Book Five:[Poets and Presents Age]. Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Criticism of Carlyle in “Aurora Leigh

Victorian Age

1166 words - 5 pages Subjection of Women, extending his area of individual freedom and self reliance of his opinion of how women were treated(24). Victorian poetry was also popular during the Victorian Age. Robert Browning, Matthew Arnold and Lord Tennyson were among the most popular Victorian poets. The major themes of Victorian poetry were loneliness, religious anxiety and social change. Matthew Arnold expressed these themes most powerfully in "Dover Beach.&quot

A Brief Biography of Elizabeth Barrett Browning Moulton

1247 words - 5 pages one’s favor. Elizabeth Barrett Moulton is known as one of the most famous British poets of all time during The Victorian Era. As a person of distinction Browning-Moulton made it through a struggle to be sick and to go through great pains to get where she was proclaimed as one of the most wonderful poetry writers in the Victorian Era. Browning, Elizabeth Barrett. Sonnets from the Portuguese: 1850 Robert browning The language of literature

Victorian Literature

1297 words - 5 pages believing the notion of evolution and the after-life, this child is the new life after the death of his friend which depicts the healing of their crisis. This can be clearly seen when he states, "That God, which ever lives and loves, / One God, one law, one element, / And one far-off divine event, / To which the whole creation moves" (Epilogue 141-144).Both Mill and Arnold concentrate on how poetry is related to religion and science while Browning and Tennyson particularly focus on God. However, all these authors depict how literature and religion heals. Although they have different methods as well as beliefs, they all prove the quote by George Gordon to be true.

Similar Essays

Comparing Social Norms In My Last Duchess By Robert Browning And Ulysses By Alfred Tennyson

1215 words - 5 pages someone, or not to (Line 10) (Browning 714). By showing off he proves his constant need to be in control of his own. In contrast, Tennyson’s Odysseus doesn't cling to the power, even though he has his own kingdom, which allows him to control his people. Instead, he chooses to “leave the sceptre and the isle” to his son, Telemachus (Line 34) (Tennyson 645). Then he says, “When I am gone. [Telemachus] works his works” (Line 43) (Tennyson 645). For

Images Of Love Expressed In The Poetry Of Browning And Tennyson

2549 words - 10 pages images of love as created, and thus defined, by Alfred lord Tennyson in “The Lady of Shalott” and Elizabeth Barrett Browning in “How do I Love Thee.” In Browning’s “How do I Love Thee”, her very existence seems to be defined by her love for the unnamed “thee”. The image of love as a joyous transcendental metaphysical experience is created as she attempts to give words to this feeling. She begins with a rhetorical question of “How do I love thee

A Comparison Of 'my Last Duchess' By Robert Browning And 'ulysses' By Alfred Lord Tennyson

1078 words - 4 pages A Comparison of 'My Last Duchess' by Robert Browning and 'Ulysses' by Alfred Lord Tennyson These two poems, or monologues, were written by Robert Browning (My last Duchess) and Alfred Lord Tennyson (Ulysses), in the 19th century during the reign of Queen Victoria. Many other influential writers were also born in this period. During this time, Britain’s population doubled from 17.5 million to 37 million. Britain was a very

Victorian Age Poets Essay

655 words - 3 pages The Victorian Age was named after Queen Victoria and lasted from 1837 through 1901. Literature from the Victorian Age exposed the world for what it really was. Literature talked about societies problems socially and economically. During the time of this period Great Britain was industrializing rapidly. They believed that nature was just nature and didn’t really care for us. Writers such as Tennyson and Carlyle strayed from the concept of art for