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engraved by G. I. Stodart - Full size image=16KALFRED LORD TENNYSON (1809 - 1892)
Tennyson was born on August 6th, 1809, in Somersby, Lincolnshire, England, and died on October 6, 1892, in Aldworth, Surrey.

Tennyson's father was a rector at Somersby and came from an old Licolnshire family. He provided Tennyson with a wide literary education who, in turn, and at a very young age, had written in a range of styles covering Pope, Scott and Milton. The Lincolnshire countryside had a great influence on his poetry, as did the work of Lord Byron. His home life was difficult and when, in his teens, his father's health deteriorated, the unhappiness at home depressed him. However, he continued to write, mostly in the fashionable styles of the day.

In 1827 he entered Cambridge and formed a deep frienship with Arthur Hallam, son of the historian Henry Hallam. Meanwhile his reputation as a poet was increasing. In 1830, with members of the "Apostles", an exclusive intellectually based undergraduate club, he went to Spain to help in the unsuccessful revolution against Ferdinand V11.

With his father's death in 1831, the unhappiness was compounded by the discovery of his father's debts. He left Cambridge without taking a degree and in 1832 his friend Hallom became engaged to his sister, Emily. However, Hallam died suddenly in 1833 on a visit to Vienna leaving Tennyson devastated. During this period he wrote some of his most characteristic work, The Two Voices, Ulysees and St. Simeon Stylites with some of his other poems providing the basis for "In Memoriam", his tribute to Hallam, and Maud, his subsequent poem.

In 1836 he fell in love with his sister-in-law (Emily Sellwood) although her father disapproved of his religious liberalism, bohemiam attitude and his fondness for port and tobacco. The relationship lapsed and during this time Tennyson built up a formidable reputation, mixed and made friends with many famous people, including Gladstone, Carlyle and the poet Walter Landor.

After a long break in the relationship, he eventually married Emily in 1850. In the same year he published, initially anonymously, "In Memoriam". It was a great success and won him the frienship of Queen Victoria and helped bring about his appointment as Poet Laureate.

In 1853, Tennyson eventually moved to Farringford on the Isle of White which became his main residence for the rest of his life. He was raised to the peerage in 1884.

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