The first section, “Feeding the Heart: Educating Tennyson,” examines the classical education that Tennyson received at Trinity College, Cambridge, under the influential scholar Connop Thirlwall. Pearsall reviews the absorption of Tennyson and other Cambridge Apostles, including Arthur Henry Hallam, in questions of classical scholarship, and shows how intimately these were connected to contemporary political debates. “Locating Victorian Troy,” the second section, explores Victorian debates on the “Homeric question,” including an ongoing contestation between Tennyson and Gladstone. The author describes the intense controversy generated by Heinrich Schliemann’s claim in 1875 to have discovered the historical Troy and analyzes Tennyson’s refusal to accept the authenticity of Schliemann’s identification of Homer’s legendary city in terms of his conception of poetry and the poet’s foundational cultural role.
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