Published in 1850, In Memoriam won its author the Poet Laureateship of Britain and received widespread attention from critics and reviewers, as well as from ordinary readers. The poem was written in memory of Tennyson’s close friend Arthur Henry Hallam, who died suddenly in 1833; it became an unofficial devotional manual for mourners, including Queen Victoria after the death of Prince Albert. The poem’s scope goes beyond individual grief, however, to the development and extinction of species, audaciously exploring history, evolution, and God’s relationship with humanity. Its formal beauty and emotional resonance make In Memoriam as compelling today as it was for nineteenth-century readers.
Matthew Rowlinson’s introduction traces the poem’s composition history and places it in the context of Tennyson’s personal and intellectual development. Historical appendices include writings by Arthur Hallam, Victorian fiction on courtship and marriage, and materials on natural history and evolution.
“This is a very helpful edition which will be of great value to the student reader. Rowlinson’s introduction, notes and appendices supply the reader with intelligent and useful contextual information and offer an engaging, thoroughly informed guide to the ways in which the poem has been read since first publication.” — Kirstie Blair, University of Stirling
“This edition is remarkably comprehensive for such a slim book, including a six-part appendix followed by a reliable and select bibliography, setting good foundations for further reading. The poem’s achievement and legacy are convincingly demonstrated by the fascinating range of appendixed primary sources, including selections from the writings of Arthur Henry Hallam, natural history, Victorian courtship fiction, the poetic sequence form, reviews of In Memoriam, and an extract from Hallam’s Tennyson’s Memoir. These groupings not only prove the central position of primary resources in the valuation of the poem, but establish for undergraduate readers a firm foundation for reference and inference.” — John Francis Davies, Tennyson Research Bulletin