This note accompanies the follow episode(s):
The Writer’s Almanac for August 6, 2017: Candlelight

August 6, 2017: birthday: Alfred, Lord Tennyson

It’s the birthday of Victorian poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson (books by this author), born in Lincolnshire, England (1809). Tennyson showed early promise as a poet, writing a 6,000-line epic when he was only 12 and publishing a book of poetry with his brother when he was only 17. After being forced to leave Cambridge because of his father’s death, after receiving some particularly negative reviews, and after the death of his best friend, Tennyson fell into a period of depression. “I suffered what seemed to me to shatter all my life so that I desired to die rather than to live,” he said of that time, during which he refused to publish anything for ten years. When he finally put out his next book, titled simply Poems, it established his career immediately and brilliantly. He went on to succeed William Wordsworth as Britain’s poet laureate, and Queen Victoria conferred on him the title of baron, arguably making him the first poet ever to sit in the House of Lords based solely on the merit of his verse. In fact, his fame at the time was probably only eclipsed by that of the prime minister and the queen herself.