As the principal narrative poem of nineteenth-century England, Tennyson's Idylls of the King is an ambitious and widely influential reworking of the Arthurian legends of the Middle Ages, which have provided a great body of myth and symbol to writers, painters, and composers for the past hundred years. Tennyson's treatment of these legends is now valued as a deeply significant oblique commentary on cultural decadence and the precarious balance of civilization.
Drawing upon published and unpublished materials, Tennyson's Camelot studies the Idylls of the King from the perspective of all its medieval sources. In noting the Arthurian literature Tennyson knew and paying special attention to the works that became central to his Arthurian creation, the volume reveals the poet's immense knowledge of the medieval legends and his varied approaches to his sources. The author follows the chronology of composition of the Idylls, allowing the reader to see Tennyson's evolving conception of his poem and his changing attitudes to the medieval accounts. The Idylls of the King stands, ultimately, as the poet's own Camelot, his legacy to his generation, an indictment of his society through a vindication of his idealism.
About the author
Professor of English at the University of Ottawa, David Staines specializes in medieval literature and culture and Canadian literature and culture. In the former, he has published Tennyson’s Camelot: The Idylls of the King and Its Medieval Sources, and translated The Complete Romances of Chrétien de Troyes; in the latter, he published The Canadian Imagination: Dimensions of a Literary Culture, The Forty-Ninth and Other Parallels: Contemporary Canadian Perspectives, and The Letters of Stephen Leacock. He has also edited volumes on Morley Callaghan, Stephen Leacock and Margaret Laurence, and co-edited volumes of the writings of Northrop Frye and Marshall McLuhan. A long-time friend of Carol Shields, he wrote Carol Shields: Cultural Context, a part of Library and Archives Canada’s Web exhibition Canadian Writers.
Other titles by David Staines
Essayist, Novelist, Poet
The Worlds of Carol Shields
Selected Letters of Stephen Leacock (Kobo)
The Loved and the Lost
My Financial Career and Other Follies
Elements of Literature
The Bombay Plays
The Matka King & Bombay Black
Selected Letters of Stephen Leacock
Lectures and Interviews