Alfred Lord Tennyson, Queen Victoria's favorite poet, commanded a wider readership than any other of his time. His ascendancy was neither the triumph of pure genius nor an accident of history: he skillfully crafted his own career and his relationships with his audience. Fame and recognition came, lavishly and in abundance, but the hunger for more never left him. Resolving never to be anything except 'a poet', he wore his hair long, smoked incessantly, and sported a cloak and wide-brimmed Spanish hat.Tennyson ranged widely in his poetry, turning his interests in geology, evolution and Arthurian legend into verse, but much of his work relates to his personal life. The poet who wrote The Lady of Shalott and The Charge of the Light Brigade has become a permanent part of our culture. This enjoyable and thoughtful new biography shows him as a Romantic as well as a Victorian, exploring both the poems and the pressures of his era, and the personal relationships that made the man.
John Batchelor is Emeritus Professor at the University of Newcastle. He was also previously a Fellow of New College, Oxford. His books include biographies of Joseph Conrad, H. G. Wells, Virginia Woolf, and John Ruskin. He lives in Newcastle.