The letters in this volume, virtually all of them personal
letters to close friends and relatives, cover nearly fifty years of
Emily Tennyson's life, from shortly before her marriage right up to
the week of her death. These letters tell the reader much about the
Tennysons' acquaintances and their guests at Farringford and
Aldworth, many of them among the literary and political luminaries
of the day. But more importantly they comment on Tennyson himself
and on daily life in the Tennyson household. Written with no
thought of posterity, Lady Tennyson's letters reveal the domestic
Tennyson, just as he was, for the first time. They reveal crucial
information about Tennyson's reading and his intellectual and
spiritual preoccupations; and they will contribute in time to a
better understanding of the complexities and subtleties of
Of course, these letters also provide a running account of the
life of Emily Tennyson herself, and they give a valid impression of
the sort of woman she really was. Her common sense and her
erudition, her tolerance and her boundless kindness, her
appreciation and command of music and other arts, her social and
political awareness, her persuasive effect on Tennyson's poetry,
and her shaping influence on the lives of the people who knew her
best--all these aspects of Emily Tennyson are displayed in her
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