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Tennyson's RaptureTransformation in the Victorian Dramatic Monologue$
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Cornelia D. J. Pearsall

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195150544

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195150544.001.0001

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TITHONUS AND THE PERFORMANCE OF MASCULINE BEAUTY

TITHONUS AND THE PERFORMANCE OF MASCULINE BEAUTY

Chapter:
(p.213) 5 TITHONUS AND THE PERFORMANCE OF MASCULINE BEAUTY
Source:
Tennyson's Rapture
Author(s):

Cornelia Pearsall (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195150544.003.0006

This chapter examines “Tithonus” in the context of Tennyson’s “Oenone,” and of his early poems representing Tithonus’s son, Memnon. In studying the phenomenon of masculine beauty in a cluster of related poems of Tennyson’s, Chapter Five also explores the problem of beauty in Tennyson’s poetics. Section one, “Trojan Aesthetics,” examines some of Tithonus’s familial, social, and literary contexts and their implications for Tennyson’s own poetic practice. Drawing on Arthur Henry Hallam’s conception of “sympathy,” as well as a range of Victorian aesthetic, poetic, and psycho-sexual theories (including Havelock Ellis’s theory of “eonism”), this chapter’s second section, “The Rapture of Tiresias,” explores the nature of identification and similitude in Tennyson’s dramatic monologue. Pearsall responds to the critical tradition of dismissing Tennyson’s poetry as “effeminate” and “ornamental,” suggesting that, through Tithonus’s efficacious speech, Tennyson demonstrates the utility of beauty.

Keywords:   Tithonus, Oenone, Memnon, Arthur Henry Hallam, Havelock Ellis, Eonism, Rapture, dramatic monologue, beauty, effeminacy

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