Alfred Tennyson

Alfred Tennyson- The Lady of Shallott

          ballad: originally sung

          description of Shallot, romantic images of nature

o   romanticizing; idealizing nature

o   Lady not engaged with nature

          Lady is ghostly (hauntology) fairylike, shadows

o   not seen, not known

o   what does that say about her identity?

          disembodiment images→ ghosts (evil spirits) and angles (holy spirit)

          disembodiment language renders Lady insignificant

o   no signs of existence

o   nightingale song: song doesn’t endure; no cultural signs       

          Romantic vs. Victorian images (women)

o   romanticism is a sense of wholeness, connection, interdependence, grand utopian desire for unity

o   Victorian Lady sees glimpses, fragments, partial picture

§  not full, rich, deep experiences

§  creates a world of uncertainty and chaos

          juxtaposition of opposites

o   she’s content in her weaving, until she sees something she’s lacking (lover’s wed)

          she takes herself of or the region of shadows into that of reality

          level of myth, suggestion of fairy world

o   she is an artist → represents artists dilemma

o   she is a woman → sexual awakening/ attractions (crisis)

          Tennyson is sympathetic to feminist concerns OR he’s saying they can’t make it our of the domestic sphere

          she falls for temptation, try and then fail

          meaning of curse: individuality → mythical problem

          individualism has perished and collapsed in Victorian minds


o   Dante’s: structured around contrasts

§  Camelot: people moving, busy life

§  Shalott: island, remote life

o   Siddall’s: simpler, crucifix in window

o   men tended to concentrate on her sexual body



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