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Alfred Tennyson was born on August 6th 1809 at Somersby Lincolnshirefourth of twelve children of George and Elizabeth Tennyson Tennyson saidto be the best poet of the Victorian era and his poetry will be discussedin this essay Tennyson had a lifelong fear of mental illness becauseseveral men in his family had a mild form of epilepsy which then was thoughtof as a shameful disease His father and brother Arthur made their epilepsyworse by excessive drinking His brother Edward had to be put in a mentalinstitution after 1833 and he spent a few weeks himself under doctors carein 1843 In the late twenties his fathers physical and mental conditiongot worse and he became paranoid abusive and violent In 1827 Tennyson escaped his troubled home when he followedhis two older brothers to Trinity College Cambridge where his teacher wasWilliam Whewell Because each of them had won university prizes for poetrythe Tennyson brothers became well known at Cambridge In 1829 The Apostlesan undergraduate club invited him to join The members of this group wouldremain Tennysons friends all his life Arthur Hallam was the most important of these friendshipsHallam a brilliant Victorian young man was recognized by his peers as havingunusual promise He and Tennyson knew each other only four years but theirintense friendship had a major influence on the poet On a visit to SomersbyHallam met and later became engaged to Emily Tennyson and the two friendslooked forward to a life-long companionship Hallam died from illness in1833 at the age of 22 and shocked Tennyson profoundly His grief lead tomost of his best poetry including In Memoriam The Passing of ArthurUlysses and Tithonus Since Tennyson was always sensitive to criticism Thebad reviews of his 1832 poems hurt him greatly Critics in those days tookgreat joy in the harshness of their reviews John Wilson Crokers harshcriticisms of some of the poems he wrote kept Tennyson from publishing againfor another nine years The success of his 1842 poems made Tennyson
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