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Doubt in God was a prevalent theme among Victorian writers In Characteristics Thomas Carlyle discusses the same doubt in God that Tennyson feels in In Memoriam 82 a doubt that characteristically reflects religion in England under the reign of Queen Victoria Carlyle doubts mans beliefs because he understands mans insignificance in the realm of things and thus wonders how any of mans answers to any questions of the world could be right He doubts many things especially God To Carlyle God did not represent an answer to the problems of the world We the whole species of Mankind and our whole existence and history are but a floating speck in the illimitable ocean of the All yet in that ocean indissoluble portion thereof partaking of its infinite tendencies borne this way and that by its deep swelling tides and grand ocean currents of which what faintest chance is there that we should ever exhaust the significance ascertain the goings and comings A region of Doubt therefore lovers forever in the background in action alone can we have certainty Nay properly doubt is the indispensable inexhaustible material whereon action works which action has to fashion into certainty and reality only on a canvas of darkness such is mans way of being could the many colored picture of our life paint itself and shine What made Tennyson so Victorian was his ready acceptance of the mores of his day his willingness to conform to popular taste to write a poetry that was easily understood and enjoyed Partly as a result of his position as a public and nationalist figure Tennyson was by far the most popular poet of the Victorian era No poet was ever so completely a national poet Henry James said in 1875 that his verse had become part of the civilization of his day This probably explains why literary opinion turned so sharply against him in the earlier part of the twentieth
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