Tennyson and the Victorian Literary Canon: New Manuscript Uncovered by Michael J. Sullivan

Image credit: Alfred Lord Tennyson, British Library https://www.bl.uk/people/alfred-lord-tennyson
Image credit: Alfred Lord Tennyson, British Library

Michael J.  Sullivan, a doctoral candidate and former Harvard Visiting Fellow, has identified Tennyson’s revision copy of The Golden Treasury, the most significant anthology of the nineteenth century. In an article published in Literary Imagination, he excavates its importance for Tennyson’s style and for the anthology’s textual history. The manuscript sheds new light on Tennyson’s poetic influences, and on his aesthetic control over the formation of a Victorian literary canon. Of the nineteenth century’s great versifiers, Tennyson was among the least prolific of literary critics. What survives in The Golden Treasury is his most prolonged and revealing judgment on the full span of English verse.

Sullivan’s research conducts the first book-length study of Tennyson’s manuscript revisions, and their role in the development of his style. This new article extends his published work on the poems Tennyson championed for inclusion in The Golden Treasury, and their stylistic connections to the verse forms of his own poetry. Both articles are free to access via the below links.

‘Tennyson and The Golden Treasury’, Essays in Criticism, 66/4 (Oxford University Press, 2016), 431-443 – https://eic.oxfordjournals.org/content/66/4/431.full.pdf+html

‘Tennyson and The Golden Treasury: A Rediscovered Revision Copy’, Literary Imagination, 18/3 (Oxford University Press, 2016), 230-238 – http://litimag.oxfordjournals.org/content/18/3/230.full.pdf+html

Parts of this news item are drawn from these articles.