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Labyrinths of DeceitCulture, Modernity and Identity in the Nineteenth Century$
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Richard J. Walker

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780853238492

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846315404

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But what am I? Alfred Tennyson's In Memoriam

But what am I? Alfred Tennyson's In Memoriam

(p.137) 5 But what am I? Alfred Tennyson's In Memoriam
Labyrinths of Deceit
Liverpool University Press

Alfred Tennyson wrote In Memoriam, a collection of lyrics, between 1833 and 1850 as an elegaic response to the death of his close friend Arthur Henry Hallam. Expressions of self-doubt and religious disorientation characterise In Memoriam, along with moral dilemmas arising from the schism between conventional Christian interpretations of the earth's history, contemporary scientific evidence, and philosophical enquiry. The elegy articulates the poet's subjective grief and loss while philosophically contemplating upon issues that are catalysed by someone's death. Faith and doubt oscillate in the poem, ultimately turning into the transitional process of reconciliation. By returning to orthodox faith and the apparently conventional elegaic utterance, In Memoriam reclaims will, sanity, and identity in the face of overwhelming doubts.

Keywords:   In Memoriam, Alfred Tennyson, elegy, death, Arthur Henry Hallam, identity, doubt, faith, grief, sanity

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