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TENNYSON, Alfred Lord.

In Memoriam.

London: Macmillan and Co., 1884 Stock Code: 146381
£1,750.00
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Inscribed by Tennyson to his friend Palgrave's daughter

Tennyson's key work, inscribed on the half-title "Cecil Ursula Palgrave from Tennyson, March 20th -85," and below by the recipient, at a later date, "Susan Lister, from Cecil U. Duncan (née Palgrave), July 1915. I known you will value this as it has Tennyson's autograph. My father - your great 'Uncle Frank' was a friend of the poet".

Cecil Ursula Palgrave (1863-1939) was the daughter of Francis Turner Palgrave (1824-1897), who had just been elected as professor of poetry at Oxford University in 1885. "In London in 1849 Francis Turner Palgrave had also been introduced to Tennyson, who had yet not achieved the fame that In Memoriam (1850) would bring. His time as Tennyson's disciple was one of the highlights of his life, but Tennyson's need for admiring followers was eventually overcome by his dislike of being harried by the devoted Palgrave. It was, therefore, little wonder that Tennyson 'dismissed' Palgrave in 1868, though Palgrave continued to regard himself as a lifelong friend. The friendship between Palgrave and Tennyson was responsible for producing Palgrave's only lasting claim to fame: The Golden Treasury of the Best Songs and Lyrical Poems in the English Language (1861), an anthology so successful that, as J. W. Mackail wrote in the Dictionary of National Biography, 'it remains one of those rare instances in which a critical work has substantive imaginative value, and entitles its author to rank among creative artists'" (ODNB).

Although Tennyson is mentioned as having "dismissed" Palgrave in 1868, this presentation copy to Palgrave's daughter evidences some level of continued contact, in spite of its laconic inscription in a somewhat unremarkable edition. Completed in 1849, In Memoriam is a requiem for the poet's beloved friend Arthur Henry Hallam, who died suddenly, at the age of 22, of a cerebral haemorrhage in Vienna in 1833. "The friendship, deepening into love, of Hallam and Tennyson was to be one of the most important experiences of Hallam's short life and of Tennyson's long one" (ODNB). Unfortunately, Hallam's letters to Tennyson were among the 30,000 letters burnt by Palgrave who, after the death of his literary icon, had approached his widow and son and appointed himself "one of the guardians of Tennyson's reputation" (ibid.) to help "edit" Tennyson's papers.

At any rate, whatever the truth of the friendship between the two men, the link with Tennyson was, as the later inscription from Cecil to her niece Susan demonstrates, clearly an important part of Palgrave family history.

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Description

Small octavo. Original green pebble-grain cloth, spine lettered in gilt, untrimmed.

Condition

A hint of wear to corners, the binding otherwise sound and bright, light toning to endpapers, else internally clean and fresh; a very good copy indeed.

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