An Example of a Literary Analysis

The following was taken from Allison's literary analysis. The author she chose to research and analyze was Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

"Thy voice on the rolling air;/ I hear thee where the waters run;/ Thou standest rising sun,/ And in the setting thou art fair" (Babusci 811). This short stanza from a poem can tell a long story about its author. The poet must miss someone dearly, but be unable to ever get his/her loved one back. The poet must be very inspired and very talented. The list could go on, but the basic idea that the author is talented, inspired, and very sad is very apparent. The writer does indeed match all of these qualifications. Alfred, Lord Tennyson is considered one of the most talented English poets. However, his inspiration comes from a tragedy, the death of his best friend, early in his life. This death, along with other events he experienced, made Alfred, Lord Tennyson one of the greatest poets of the Victorian Age.

Reading further into the body of the paper, Allison shows development of her thesis.

The following year, 1833, Tennyson experienced more personal problems with the death of his dearest friend, Arthur Hallam. For the next several years, Alfred, Lord Tennyson would grieve over his dearly beloved friend's death. Hallam's death forced Tennyson to question his faith in nature, God, and poetry (Landlow 1). It took many years for Tennyson to recover from the death, and many people say the he did not ever fully recover. Tennyson's "deep, heartbreaking grief" is shown in the poem that he began to write at this time in memory of his dead friend. The poem took many years to write; he worked at it at intervals, when his sorrow came upon him in fresh force, and he felt some comfort in putting it into the most poignant, most beautiful words his poet's soul could find" (Cruse 584). The resulting poetry led Edward FitzGerald to the prediction that Tennyson would "publish such a volume as has not been published since the time of Keats: and which, once published, will never be suffered to die" (Ricks 15). His prediction was realized in 1850 when Tennyson published the poems in a volume called In Memoriam.

Finally, Allison concludes her literary analysis with the thoughts of several critics.

Many notable critics of the time had high praise for In Memoriam. One critic said that the poems altogether rivaled "the sonnets of Shakespeare" and that the volume should be considered "the noblest English Christian poem which several centuries" (Ricks 26) had seen. As Emily Sellwood, Alfred, Lord Tennyson's wife, said in a letter to Tennyson, In Memoriam's poems will not soon perish, "for they are life in life, and they shall live, and as years go on be only the more fully known and loved and reverenced for what they are" (Ricks 24). Her prediction has been realized, with many modern authors saying compliments such as "the work ranks with John Milton's Lycidas and Percy Shelley's Adonais as one of the greatest examples of the elegy in English poetry" (Dunn 170).

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