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Record 21818

Reading Experience:

'At the end of the year [1855] an unknown Nottingham artizan [sic] came to call. My father asked him to dinner and at his request read "Maud." It appears that the poor man had sent his poems beforehand. They had been acknowledged, but had not been returned, and had been forgotten. He was informed that the poems, thus sent, were always looked at, although my father and mother had not time to pass judgement on them. A most pathetic incident of this kind, my father told me, happened to him at Twickenham, when a Waterloo soldier brought twelve large cantos on the battle of Waterloo. The veteran had actually taught himself in his old age to read and write that he might thus commemorate Wellington's great victory. The epic lay for some time under the sofa in my father's study, and was a source of much anxiety to him. How could he go through such a vast poem? One day he mustered up courage and took a portion out. It opened on the head of a canto: "The Angels encamped above the field of Waterloo." On that day, at least, he "read no more." He gave the author, when he called for his manuscript, this criticism: "Though great images loom here and there, your poem could not be published as a whole." The old man answered nothing, wrapt up each of the twelve cantos carefully, placed them in a strong oak case and carried them off. He was asked to come again but he never came.'
Century: 1800-1849, 1850-1899
Date: unknown
Country: England
Time: n/a
Place: city: Twickenham
Type of Experience (Reader):
silent aloud unknown
solitary in company unknown
single serial unknown
Type of Experience (Listener):
solitary in company unknown
single serial unknown

Reader/Listener/Reading Group:

Reader:Alfred Tennyson
Age Adult (18-100+)
Gender Male
Date of Birth 6 Aug 1809
Socio-economic group: Professional / academic / merchant / farmer
Occupation: Writer
Religion: n/a
Country of origin: England
Country of experience: England
Listeners present if any:
(e.g. family, servants, friends, workmates)
Additional comments: n/a


Text Being Read:

Author: anon
Title: 12-canto poem on battle of Waterloo
Genre: History, Poetry
Form of Text: Manuscript: Unknown
Publication details: n/a
Provenance: borrowed (other)


Source Information:

Record ID: 21818  
Source - Print  
  Author: Hallam Tennyson
  Editor: n/a
  Title: Alfred Lord Tennyson: A Memoir by His Son
  Place of Publication: London
  Date of Publication: 1897
  Vol: 1
  Page: 392
  Additional comments: n/a

Citation: Hallam Tennyson, Alfred Lord Tennyson: A Memoir by His Son (London, 1897), 1, p. 392,, accessed: 31 January 2023

Additional comments:



Reading Experience Database version 2.0.  Page updated: 27th Apr 2016  3:15pm (GMT)