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the experience of reading in Britain, from 1450 to 1945...

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Aubrey de Vere


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Alfred Tennyson : stanzas from In Memoriam

Aubrey de Vere on time spent with Alfred Tennyson in London during 1850: 'Few of the hours I spent with Alfred surive with such a pathetic sweetness and nearness in my recollection as those which are associated with that time and with "In Memoriam" [...] 'I went to him very late each night, and he read many of the poems to me or discussed them with me till the early hours of the morning. The tears often ran down his face as he read, without the slightest apparent consciousness of them on his part. The pathos and grandeur of those poems were to me greatly increased by the voice which rather intoned than recited them [...] Sometimes towards the close of a stanza his voice dropped; but I avoided the chance of thus losing any part of the meaning by sitting beside him, and glancing at the pieces he read. They were written in a long and narrow manuscript book, which assisted him to arrange the poems in due order by bringing many of them at once before his eye.'

Century: 1850-1899     Reader/Listener/Group: Aubrey de Vere      Manuscript: Unknown


Arthur Hallam : Essay on Alfred Tennyson's Poems, Chiefly Lyrical

Aubrey De Vere, on how he 'first made acquaintance with Alfred Tennyson's poetry': 'Lord Houghton, then Richard Monckton Milnes, a Cambridge friend of my eldest brother's, drove up to the door of our house at Curragh Chase one night in 1832 [...] He had brought with him the first number of a new magazine entitled The Englishman containing Arthur Hallam's essay on Tennyson's Poems, Chiefly Lyrical. The day on which I first took the slender volume into my hands was with me a memorable one. Arthur Hallam's essay had contrasted two different schools of modern poetry, calling one of these classes Poets of Reflection, and the other class Poets of Sensation, the latter represented by Shelley and Keats. Of Keats I knew nothing, and of Shelley very little; but the new poet seemed to me, while he had a touch of both the classes thus characterized, to have little in common with either. He was eminently original, and about that originality there was for me a wild, inexplicable magic and a deep pathos [goes on to discuss further]'.

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: Aubrey De Vere      Print: Serial / periodical


Alfred Tennyson : Harold

Aubrey de Vere to Alfred Tennyson, 28 December 1876: 'I do not like to defer longer sending you my most cordial thanks for sending me your "Harold." I have already read the whole of it twice, and many parts much oftener [...] You know how heartily I admired it when you read it aloud to me: and I can honestly assure you that the admiration has not been less on reading it to myself. On that first occasion it may have derived an advantage from your reading; but if so, the more careful attention one gives to what one reads with one's own eyes fully compensated for whatever was lost. The great characteristic of this drama is to me that of an heroic strength blended with heroic simplicity, and everything in it harmonious with that predominant characteristic [goes on to discuss in detail].'

Century: 1850-1899     Reader/Listener/Group: Aubrey de Vere      Print: Book


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