Alfred Lord Tennyson's Masterpiece Idylls of the King
Idylls of the King.
Item Number: 3004
Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1866.
Octavo, three quarters leather over marbled boards, gilt titles and tooling to spine. Top edge gilt, marbled endpapers, frontispiece of Tennyson. With illustrations by Sol Evtinge, Jr. and S. Colman, Jr., and Initials by J.H. Hyde.
With Idylls of the King, one of the giants of Victorian literature turned his considerable talents to the lore surrounding a larger-than-life British ruler. Alfred, Lord Tennyson cast his interpretation of Arthurian myth into the form of an epic poem, and his tales of Camelot soar to remarkable imaginative heights to trace the birth of a king; the founding, fellowship, and decline of the Round Table; and the king's inevitable departure. Encompassing romance, heroism, duty, and conflict, Tennyson's poetry charts the rise and fall of a legendary society. “By the early 19th century, the Arthurian legends had become a literary anachronism. Tennyson’s poetry brought about a rebirth of interest in the material and eventually placed it on a new plateau of respect and significance for writers and artists… Tennyson’s recreation of the Arthurian world is an attempt to reform his generation by showing the effects of sensuality, materialism and spiritual blindness” (Lacy, 446-49).