This is the first book-length study of Tennyson's record of publication in Victorian periodicals. Despite Tennyson's supposed hostility to periodicals, Ledbetter shows that he made a career-long habit of contributing to them and in the process revealed not only his willingness to promote his career but also his status as a highly valued commodity. Tennyson published more than sixty poems in serial publications, from his debut as a Cambridge prize-winning poet with "Timbuctoo" in the Cambridge Chronicle and Journal to his last public composition as Poet Laureate with "The Death of the Duke of Clarence and Avondale" in The Nineteenth Century. In addition, poems such as "The Charge of the Light Brigade" were shaped by his reading of newspapers. Ledbetter explores the ironies and tensions created by Tennyson's attitudes toward publishing in Victorian periodicals and the undeniable benefits to his career. She situates the poet in an interdependent commodity relationship with periodicals, viewing his individual poems as textual modules embedded in a page of meaning inscribed by the periodical's history, the poet's relationship with the periodical's readers, an image sharing the page whether or not related to the poem, and cultural contexts that create new meanings for Tennyson's work. Her book enriches not only our understanding of Tennyson's relationship to periodical culture but the textual implications of a poem's relationship with other texts on a periodical page and the meanings available to specific groups of readers targeted by individual periodicals.
Winner of the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals' 2007 Robert Colby Book Prize ’... sheds new light on the mechanics of literary celebrity in the nineteenth century. ...That so many rich new areas of study are suggested by this book testifies to its wide-ranging and engaging research, and its several appendices will be of great use to future bibliographers and scholars.’ Times Literary Supplement ’What is accomplished here is well edited, accompanied by three useful appendices, and generously illustrated... this study deserves praise for its accuracy in dealing with a literary career spanning two-thirds of a century.’ Journal of British Studies