Tennyson and Victorian Periodicals: Commodities in Context, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Tennyson and Victorian Periodicals

Commodities in Context, 1st Edition

By Kathryn Ledbetter


244 pages

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Hardback: 9780754657194
pub: 2006-12-28
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This is the first book-length study of Tennyson's record of publication in Victorian periodicals. Despite Tennyson's supposed hostility to periodicals, Ledbetter shows that he made a career-long habit of contributing to them and in the process revealed not only his willingness to promote his career but also his status as a highly valued commodity. Tennyson published more than sixty poems in serial publications, from his debut as a Cambridge prize-winning poet with "Timbuctoo" in the Cambridge Chronicle and Journal to his last public composition as Poet Laureate with "The Death of the Duke of Clarence and Avondale" in The Nineteenth Century. In addition, poems such as "The Charge of the Light Brigade" were shaped by his reading of newspapers. Ledbetter explores the ironies and tensions created by Tennyson's attitudes toward publishing in Victorian periodicals and the undeniable benefits to his career. She situates the poet in an interdependent commodity relationship with periodicals, viewing his individual poems as textual modules embedded in a page of meaning inscribed by the periodical's history, the poet's relationship with the periodical's readers, an image sharing the page whether or not related to the poem, and cultural contexts that create new meanings for Tennyson's work. Her book enriches not only our understanding of Tennyson's relationship to periodical culture but the textual implications of a poem's relationship with other texts on a periodical page and the meanings available to specific groups of readers targeted by individual periodicals.


Winner of the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals' 2007 Robert Colby Book Prize ’… sheds new light on the mechanics of literary celebrity in the nineteenth century. …That so many rich new areas of study are suggested by this book testifies to its wide-ranging and engaging research, and its several appendices will be of great use to future bibliographers and scholars.’ Times Literary Supplement ’What is accomplished here is well edited, accompanied by three useful appendices, and generously illustrated… this study deserves praise for its accuracy in dealing with a literary career spanning two-thirds of a century.’ Journal of British Studies

About the Author

Kathryn Ledbetter is Associate Professor of English at Texas State University, San Marcos, USA. She and Terence Hoagwood are co-authors of "Colour'd Shadows": Contexts in Publishing, Printing, and Reading Nineteenth-Century British Women Writers (2005).

About the Series

The Nineteenth Century Series

The Nineteenth Century Series

The Nineteenth Century Series aims to develop and promote new approaches and fresh directions in scholarship and criticism on nineteenth-century literature and culture. The series encourages work which erodes the traditional boundary between Romantic and Victorian studies and welcomes interdisciplinary approaches to the literary, religious, scientific and visual cultures of the period. While British literature and culture are the core subject matter of monographs and collections in the series,  the editors encourage proposals which explore the wider, international contexts of nineteenth-century literature – transatlantic, European and global.  Print culture, including studies in the newspaper and periodical press, book history, life writing and gender studies are particular strengths of this established series as are high quality single author studies.  The series also embraces research in the field of digital humanities. The editors invite proposals from both younger and established scholars in all areas of nineteenth-century literary studies. 

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LITERARY CRITICISM / Comparative Literature