Tennyson was one of the greatest and best-loved poets of the English-speaking world, and many of his poems-among them "In Memoriam," "The Charge of the Light Brigade," and "Idylls of the King"-are as well known today as they were more than a century ago. His life spanned most of the nineteenth century, and as Poet Laureate of Britain for forty years, he was a central figure in Victorian literacy and intellectual life. Tennyson's life is an extraordinary and compelling one. As a poet, particularly in his later years, his popularity and his commercial success would make most present-day poets weep with envy-the print run of an illustrated edition of his poems in 1857 was 10,000 copies, and the Idylls of the King earned about $7000.00 in royalties in the year of publication (Enoch Arden did substantially better). The public figure and the legend did much to obscure the private man, who suffered for most of his life from bouts of severe depression. Norman Page uses poems, memoirs, letters, and more than 70 photographs (many of which have never been reproduced) to disentangle the man from the Poet Laureate, and to illuminate the life of one of the most memorable of the Victorians.
Norman Page was educated at Cambridge and Leeds and has taught in England and Canada. He is currently Professor of Modern English Literature at the University of Nottingham as well as Chairman of the Publications Committee of the Tennyson Society and a Vice-President of the Thomas Hardy Society. His many books on nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature includeThomas Hardy (1977),Tennyson: Interviews and Recollections (1983),A.E. Housman: A Critical Biography (1983),A Dickens Companion (1984), andE.M. Forster (1988).