Tag Archives: Alfred Lord Tennyson

Strong in Will vs. Time & Fate

Roger Feder, like Tennyson’s “Ulysses,” braved time and fate and came up just short.

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Expect No Second Charge in Ukraine

Battling Russian troops 110 years ago in the Crimea, the British light brigade inspired Tennyson. Expect no doomed charge from the West this time.

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Maybe the Gulfs Will Wash Us Down

Peyton Manning was not Homer’s Odysseus but Tennyson’s Ulysses.

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Eagles Prepare a Thunderbolt

The Philadelphia Eagles bring to mind Tennyson’s eagle, falling like a thunderbolt.

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When Hostage Taking Backfires

The GOP hostage takers resemble the Light Brigade, as well as the kidnappers in “Ransom of Red Chief,” “Fargo,” and “Ruthless People.”

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Nature Red in Tooth & Claw? Maybe Not

Carleton’s Ian Barbour turned to Tennyson in seeking to find connections between science and religion.

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The Zen of an Old Growth Forest

Biologist David Haskell approaches forests in a way that is both scientific and poetic.

Posted in Blake (William), Emerson (Ralph Waldo), Tennyson (Alfred Lord), Thoreau (Henry David) | Also tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Fantasy, Because Reality Is Unsatisfactory

Fantasy is nothing in and of itself but takes its character in opposition to an unsatisfactory reality.

Posted in Keats (John), Lewis (C. S.), Shakespeare (William), Tennyson (Alfred Lord), Tolkien (J.R.R.) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

I Thought That Love Would Last Forever…

The death of a beloved cousin is throwing me into the primal pain described by Tennyson and Auden.

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Fed, Peyton: Made Weak by Time & Fate?

Peyton Manning and Roger Federer, in the twilight of their careers, bring to mind Tennyson’s Ulysses.

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Spanish Soccer as the Lady of Shalott

In “The Lady of Shalott,” beauty can’t stand up against the real world. By winning the European Cup, Spain showed us this doesn’t always have to be the case.

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Ulysses: Do Not Go Gently into Retirement

A discussion of Tennyson’s poem “Ulysses” led a group of senior citizens to conclude that it’s about a man who is experiencing difficulties transitioning into retirement.

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Once We Memorized Poetry

Memorizing poetry used to be standard classroom practice and poetry was widely popular before the snobs came in.

Posted in Coleridge (Samuel Taylor), Keats (John), Kilmer (Joyce), Kipling (Rudyard), Riley (James Whitcomb), Shelley (Percy), Tennyson (Alfred Lord), Wordsworth (William) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Twilight, Evening Bell, After That the Dark

I share Tennyson’s wonderful poem “Crossing the Bar” in memory of an old Navy friend who died this past week.

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College on a Boat

The Sea Voyager, temporary home to St. Mary’s students after we were hit with a bad mold problem, left campus on Sunday, bringing to mind an Alfred, Lord Tennyson poem.

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This Is the Golden Morning of Love

A wedding poem seems appropriate for June. Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s lovely “Marriage Morning” draws me, maybe because it captures some of the anxieties of the wedding day and not just the joys.

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Dear Son, Far Off, My Lost Desire

I understand more with each passing year what Tennyson means when he says his love “is vaster passion now” and how Hallam is thoroughly mixed with God and nature. Tennyson goes on to say that the moral will of humankind—the “living will” that is the best part of ourselves as a people—can finding footing on this spiritual rock. And that the living water that springs from this rock will “flow through our deeds and make them pure.”

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Rogers No Longer in Odysseus’ Shadow

Sports Saturday Something memorable occurred last Sunday in Dallas in addition to the Green Bay Packers bringing “Vince Lombardi home” in their Super Bowl victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Quarterback Aaron Rogers stepped out of the shadow of a legend. The literary equivalent that comes to mind is Homer’s Telemachus, but Rogers is Telemachus with […]

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Peyton Manning as Moby Dick?!

Sports Saturday In anticipation of football’s “Wild Card Weekend,” which begins today, I see that a sports writer has invoked Herman Melville’s masterpiece. Dan Graziano believes that Indianapolis Colt quarterback Peyton Manning has become Rex Ryan’s Moby Dick. He has beaten the New York Jets coach so many times that Ryan has become obsessed with […]

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What Fictional Fantasy Means

Having taught British Fantasy Literature for the first time last semester, I need to think back on it before it becomes a distant memory.    By reflecting publicly, I can share some of the insights I gained from the course. Two major things I learned are that (1) fantasy is an oppositional genre—by which I […]

Posted in Andersen (Hans Christian), Barrie (J. M.), Carroll (Lewis), Chaucer (Geoffrey), Coleridge (Samuel Taylor), Dickens (Charles), Grahame (Kenneth), Grimm Brothers, Haggard (Rider), Keats (John), Kipling (Rudyard), Rossetti (Christina), Shakespeare (William), Sir Gawain Poet, Tennyson (Alfred Lord), Tolkien (J.R.R.) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Blaming Loved Ones in the Face of Death

Edvard Munch, The Sick Child  Imagine the following situation. A couple has been married for decades but now he has contracted a terminal illness and is dying. His wife has always prided herself on being there for him when he needed her, but now she feels helpless. Meanwhile he is scared and angry and is […]

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A Poem for Heroes and Mass Murderers

Since the World Cup is underway in South Africa, I watched Clint Eastwood’s Invictus last week, about the 1995 World Cup Rugby Tournament held in South Africa.  Based on a true story, the film notes that, while in prison, Nelson Mandela, like many black South Africans, would root against the South African rugby team, beloved […]

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Becoming the Hero of Our Own Life

David Copperfield  (1935)         “Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show,” writes narrator David Copperfield at the beginning of the great Charles Dickens novel.  But why the uncertainty?  Can’t we just decide to be the hero of […]

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Ring Out the Old, Ring in the New

I am writing to you from the home of my parents in Sewanee, Tennessee, where I figure I have spent around 48 of my 58 Christmases.   In this I differ from the Tennyson in the third Christmas passage of In Memoriam.  For the first time since Hallam’s death, he is not celebrating the season in […]

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Dead Hands Reaching Out to Comfort

Alfred Lord Tennyson’s three Christmas passages in In Memoriam are reminiscent of the way that my own family celebrates Christmas. My ancestry is British and the ceremonies that we observe date at least as far back as my great grandmother Eliza Scott Fulcher, born in the 1850’s.    Christmas in Sewanee, Tennessee (which is where we are […]

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Singing Carols in the Darkness

Thinking about my dead son in this Christmas season brings to mind Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s In Memoriam, the lengthy poem that he wrote over the course of 17 years lamenting the death of his close friend Arthur Henry Hallam.Hallam was a young man when he died unexpectedly of a cerebral hemorrhage, and Tennyson describes his […]

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Trusting that Good Can Come from Ill

Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus What have I learned about literature and pain this past week? First, that writers have taken up the topic, just as they take up every aspect of human existence. They imagine what it is like to feel pain and, through poetic images and fictional stories, convey that experience to readers. By entering […]

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Alan’s Cancer vs. an Exquisite Corpse

Colleagues of my friend Alan Paskow held another one of our salons Monday night.  Alan is a former professor of philosophy at St. Mary’s College, now retired, who currently has cancer in his lungs.  We have been meeting once a month or so to show our support and to generally reaffirm how important community is.  Monday […]

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Father-Son Conflict: The Comic Version

  In yesterday’s post I began giving an account of a car conversation I had with my two sons regarding stories that explore father-son relationships, as well as my desire for a story in which fathers and sons collaborate to handle the world’s challenges.  Darien, my older son, felt that the archetypal conflict as it […]

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Poetry Standing Firm in the Face of Fire

“But maybe stories and poetry can help open our minds to possibilities that are very real but extremely hard to see; and in that sense, they can be very practical.” – Rachel Kranz in a response to yesterday’s post I love the two responses to yesterday’s post (from the two major women in my life) […]

Posted in Behbahani (Simin), Nafisi (Azar), Stowe (Harriet Beecher), Tennyson (Alfred Lord) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

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