The Consolation of Otherness

The Male Love Elegy in Milton, Gray and Tennyson


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About the Book

The social and religious constraints of their time may have prevented John Milton, Thomas Gray, and Alfred Tennyson from conscious expression or even unconscious recognition of the true extent of their love and devotion to their young male friends, but it lies at the heart of their emotional lives and poetry. Connected by the extraordinary coincidence that each of their loved ones died young, Milton, Gray, and Tennyson are also connected by the male-love elegies that sprang from their grief.
This work examines the relationships between John Milton and Charles Diodati, Thomas Gray and Richard West, and Alfred Tennyson and Arthur Hallam through a critical study of Milton’s “Epitaphium Damonis,” Gray’s “Elegy,” and Tennyson’s “In Memoriam.” It shows how their concepts of otherness and difference from the people around them provided comfort after the loss of their loved ones. It discusses Milton’s use of Latin to mourn his friend and screen the most resounding expressions of his love while keeping at bay those not ready to understand his concept of otherness, how Gray used both Latin and the vernacular to express his grief while conforming to social and religious constraints by also addressing larger concerns; and Tennyson’s ability to use the vernacular with complete security to speak out and yet hold back private thoughts about the person he loved more than almost any other in his life.

About the Author(s)

Matthew Curr is a senior lecturer in the Department of English at the University of South Africa.

Bibliographic Details

Matthew Curr
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 184
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2002
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1239-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction     1

1 The Phoenix

Charles Diodati and John Milton     5

2 A Secret Sympathy

Richard West and Thomas Gray     45

3 Points of Resistance

Gray’s Letters     90

4 A Deeper Voice

Arthur Hallam and Alfred Tennyson     148

Notes     167

Bibliography     173

Index     175

Book Reviews & Awards

“close critical analysis”—Reference & Research Book News.