Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
This study explores representations of gender in the poetry of Alfred Lord Tennyson as they apply to Victorian England. In particular, it addresses the apparent gender transgressions that seem to occur in his presentation of "masculine" women and "feminine" men; these transgressive portrayals seem to defy a society that maintains a binary of gender strictly contrasting women and men through opposing roles and qualities. Several critics have explored Tennyson's use of "masculine" women and "feminine" men in relation to his society. Some of these critics maintain that he still challenges the rigid Victorian norms despite conservative closures, while others argue that he presents two readings simultaneously; while he reinforces conservative gender in his endings, he still leaves the possibility for gender transgression open. Another group of critics, with whom I align myself, maintains that Tennyson ultimately reinforces such conservative gender distinctions. However, while most of these critics contend that Tennyson's reinforcement of gender is either unintentional or only occurs in the latter stages of the poem, I maintain that conservative norms of gender are apparent even when gender transgression seems most evident. Furthermore, while most criticism on Tennyson and gender deals with his later poetry, from The Princess (1847) onwards, my study includes a full chapter on Tennyson's representations of gender as early as ''Mariana'' (1830), and also including ''The Lady of Shalott" (1832) and 'Ulysses" (1842).
Ryan, Andrea, "Gender Politics in the Early Poetry of Alfred, Lord Tennyson" (1999). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 6598.
McMaster University Library