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Idylls of the King (Dodo Press) [Paperback]

Alfred Tennyson
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 28 2008
Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson (1809-1892) was Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom and is one of the most popular English poets. Much of his verse was based on classical mythological themes. One of Tennyson's most famous works is Idylls of the King (1859), a series of narrative poems based entirely on King Arthur and the Arthurian tales. During his career, Lord Tennyson attempted drama, but his plays enjoyed little success even in his lifetime. His first publication entitled Poems by Two Brothers was published in 1827. He published his first solo collection of poems, Poems Chiefly Lyrical in 1830. In 1833, Tennyson published his second book of poetry, which included his well-known poem, The Lady of Shalott. In 1842 Tennyson published two volumes of Poems. The Princess, a satire of women's education, which came out in 1847, was also popular. It was in 1850 that Tennyson reached the pinnacle of his career, being appointed Poet Laureate until his death. Amongst his other works are Becket and Other Plays (1884) and Lady Clare (1884).

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About the Author

Alfred, Lord Tennyson was born in 1809, the son of a clergyman. His only occupation was as a poet and he was made Poet Laureate in 1850, accepting a peerage in 1883. He is most known for In Memoriam, a speculation on mortality. He died in 1892. J.M. Gray has been an editor, schoolteacher, university lecturer and author. He is also a published poet, under the name Martin Gray. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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5.0 out of 5 stars THE MAGIC OF CAMELOT Feb. 13 2004
By K. Jump
For Tennyson, the Arthurian legend was an evolving love affair that lasted throughout the poet's life, and the "Idylls of the King" is the ultimate offspring of that enchanted love. Composed of a dozen individual yet interlinked story-poems, the Idylls span the whole of Malory's opus from Arthur's glorious rise to power to his fog-shrouded and mysterious death, "lest one good custom should corrupt the world." But Tennyson humanizes Malory's stories and infuses the whole with an almost Shakespearean aura of tragedy, redefining many of the legendary tales with a new level of gravitas unmatched before or since. Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Zealous Praise Sept. 29 2003
Alfred Lord Tennyson impresses the reader with his unique talent of writing poetry. He writes a series of poems based on myths, legends, epics and so on to produce a work so skillfully written, one's eyes could be glued to the book in marvel at the fine imagery he creates to tell his story. Much of his poems are based upon King Arthur's period of time. His representaion of the era accentuates a period in time when he was named Poet Laruette. His skill and passion for writing captures the minds of those who seek love as well for those who strive for adventure. As this book has a wide selction of tales to tell, one of my all-time favorite poems for some reason is, Lady of Shallott. Tennyson's sharp use of words inspired many artists that turned is words of imagery into a painting. After reading this book, try browsing the web or search through art books to find what faomous paintings there are that were influenced by Tennyson. This book I would highly recommend to those who especially enjoy reading poetry, for Tennyson is one of the most well-known and most talented poets the world has yet to know.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An epic Arthurian Romance April 15 2003
This lengthy poem about King Arthur's court is written in grand epic style, in the spirit of the Iliad, the Odyssey, and Paradise Lost, and drawing on these and other great epics. Tennyson follows many of the traditional epic conventions here--the epic similes, the epic quests, etc. But this work is not wholly an epic, it is rather more of a Romance. The book is divided into various sections, each dealing with a knight (or knights) of King Arthur's court. The adventures they encounter are various and only remotely connected, but there is a back story to each. Something is going on behind the scenes. The first part of the book deals with the rise of Arthur, and of the glory of his kingdom. The second part focuses on the gradual decline of his influence, and culminates with the King's discovery of Lancelot and Guinevere's affair.

This is one of my favorite Arthurian romances. Tennyson's verse is beautiful and vivid, and his story is both compelling and easy to follow. No study of English Romanticism would be complete without Tennyson, and this is one of his finest works.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Tennyson's Best Nov. 5 2002
Beset by misogyny and Tennyson's unavoidable issues with the way he felt his society was headed for hell in a hand basket, IDYLLS OF THE KING still remains his most gorgeously affective work. Breathing life and passion into every stanza, Tennyson brought true emotionalism to this work of genius, and it is impossible to read it without being affected in some way, and coming away from it a changed person. It is perhaps helpful to be aware of the greater works in the Arthurian oeuvre (TRISTAN AND ISOLDE, MORTE D'ARTHUR, the works of Chretien de Troyes etc.) but such is certainly not imperative to a fulfilling Tennyson experience - his ideas and imagery ring loud and true in the beguiling landscape of his poetry.
There are problems: Tennyson was staunchly misogynistic and apparently can't help but infuse his work with these ideals, and his fervent belief that a country without a strong moral center cannot stand is so strong expressed that almost every stanza seems to revolve around this point. Yet, whether one agrees with Tennyson or not, one cannot deny the great artistry and power of the poetry, and the way such ideas are expressed. The keening tone and wistfulness of expression is unavoidable in any reading, lending the work a sharp frisson of bittersweet beauty that is unmatched by anything else Tennyson ever wrote, or anything else in the canon of English literature.
Absolutely gorgeous.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Arthurian synopsis in verse
"Idylls of the King" provides an outline of the story of Malory's "La Morte Darthur" in a brief, verse style that may actually make the book a good primer on... Read more
Published on April 16 2003 by Sho J. Morimoto
4.0 out of 5 stars Knocked off a star for the misogyny
How do I express just how beautiful Tennyson's poetry is in this epic classic, and yet criticize it for its misogyny?
The poetry speaks for itself. Read more
Published on Aug. 4 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars 19th Century Camelot: An Impossible Ideal
Tennyson's poetic version of Arthurian legend is inspiring and beautifully cadenced. If you are unfamiliar with the foundational tales of the Round Table this may not be the... Read more
Published on May 22 2001 by J. Leitch
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
Idylls of the king is a harder read but the expirience is well worth it. Tennyson's language creates a vivid image in the mind of the reader. Read more
Published on April 30 2001 by Ryan Naieeslair
4.0 out of 5 stars The music of legend...
If Malory's "Le Morte D'Arthur" is the backbone of Arthurian literature, Tennyson's "Idylls" are its flesh and blood. Read more
Published on April 20 2001 by Ilana Teitelbaum
5.0 out of 5 stars Tennyson's Most Brilliant Work
Tennyson had a life-long interest in the Arthurian legend, and based many of his works on it. Idylls of the King is his longest and most ambitious work, and it is truly brilliant. Read more
Published on Feb. 13 2001 by "starry-ice"
5.0 out of 5 stars If I were stranded on a deserted island...
this is the one book I would bring with me. Tennyson's poetry is simple enough to be understood, but challenging enough to stretch your mind. Read more
Published on Feb. 8 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of and truest telling of King Arthur
Almost as if the tales were not a myth, this book speaks of King Arthur and all of his adventures in the greatest of detail. Read more
Published on Nov. 25 2000 by Aariel Portera
4.0 out of 5 stars Casual readers BEWARE
Although this is one of the best piece of Arthurian literature available to us today, it is certainly not for the casual fan more familiar with "Once and Future King" and... Read more
Published on Feb. 1 2000 by James Johnson
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