In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

80Rocky Mountain Review postulates, goes beyond the mere cataloguing of superficial detail to comment on the symbolic organization of this rich array of materials. Iconography must, therefore, be greeted enthusiastically as a major scholarly contribution. DAVID WILLIAM FOSTER Arizona State University EARL A. KNIES, ed. Tennyson at Aldworth: The Diary ofJames Henry Mangles. Athens: Ohio University Press, 1984. 155 p. This sampling from J.H. Mangles, Victorian horticulturalist and lawyer, rides Tennysonian coattails to publication. The somewhat misleading title defines Mangles' single claim to literary fame: that his Sussex summer home was situated a quarter of a mile from Tennyson's Aldworth. Between August 1870 and October 1872, Mangles recorded seventeen meetings with Tennyson. Though a cryptic diarist, often in need of Professor Knies' excellent and substantial annotations, Mangles sensed the potential interest such intimate association with the Laureate might occasion. In these diary glimpses he is more careful collector than scrutinizing lawyer. Retrieved from a laundry room and, much later, from the Ohio University Archives, Mangles' diary supplies one man's view of Tennyson at home. An educated but uncritical admirer, Mangles seldom queried the poet about his current projects, but did ask questions readers still pose: Wasn't the line "Dearer than my brothers are to me" in In Memoriam rather cruel to his brothers? (His sister thought so.) Did Tennyson address Hallam as "dear"? (Never.) Such revelations aside, however, Mangles' conversations with Tennyson skim widely divergent topics — from political issues to gossip of the day. Significantly, Mangles does not record that Tennyson ever read for him, a privilege enjoyed by other visitors to Aldworth. The omission reveals the sociable but hardly intimate nature of this friendship. Indeed, Tennyson is just as interested, we gather, in Mangles' suggestion of vinca minor to cover his slope as he is to learn that Mangles admires Idylls. The value of such a volume, therefore, is a subtle task to define. As a portrait of Tennyson in his later years, Mangles' account seems refreshingly immune to idolotry. His unpolished and unself-conscious comments produce what appears to be a scrupulous as well as an uncritical record of the poet's remarks. This accuracy becomes something of a trial, of course, when Tennyson's comments about contemporary poets share the same paragraph with pique at his sister's leaving the drapes open or a tardy guest of his son's delaying dinner. Such a mulligan stew, though, is a very different repast for Tennyson scholars (and interested students) dieted on the rigorous scholarship of Robert Martin and Christopher Ricks, or the exotic thesis of Ann Colley's Tennyson and Madness (Univ. of Georgia Press, 1983). Nor is this close-up view of "Tennyson the man" at all like Knies' fine study, The Art of Charlotte Bronte (Ohio Univ. Press, 1969), where he breaks critical ground in his skillful use of biography to illuminate Bronte's literary texts. What Mangles' diary adds to our knowledge of Tennyson is a series of functional, though obscure hooks on which the rich, varied tapestry of the poet's life and art may be displayed. Book Reviews81 Knies seems to draw on the excellent example of Jack Kolb's edition of The Letters ofArthur Henry Hallam (Ohio State Univ. Press, 1981) in his thorough articulation of editorial principles. Knies' wise while witty introduction covers many awkward lacunae in the diarist's portrait of Tennyson as well. But unlike KoIb, Knies must work with a considerably less eminent Victorian (his 23 articles on rhododendrons notwithstanding), who has no insights of his own about Tennyson to share. Despite the uncomfortable sense that our diarist is a predator of celebrities, Mangles' diary, enriched by Knies' careful glosses and insights, does provide a unique if limited perspective on Tennyson, one that may humanize the Laureate for students and draw some fresh connections for more experienced Tennyson readers and critics. PATRICE CALDWELL Eastern New Mexico University RICHARD A. LANHAM. Literacy and the Survival ofHumanism . New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983. 178 p. Each ofthese essays, which Lanham admits were not written to be published together, attempts to view anew the humanities curriculum, especially literature and composition, through the epistemological assumptions derived from a...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1948-2833
Print ISSN
1948-2825
Pages
pp. 80-81
Launched on MUSE
2016-01-06
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.