>From Rick Parker:
> Raphael Ingelbien wrote:
> > Verlaine and Mallarme were keen readers of Tennyson's poetry.
> > Mallarme regarded 'Maud' as a masterpiece.
> I don't know much about this stuff, educate me please.
> They may have liked Tennyson but how did Tennyson affect their poetry?
Verlaine obviously liked the plangency and the music; he was striving after
the same thing. Yeats reports that Verlaine also had reservations about
Tennyson ('When he should have been broken-hearted, he had many
reminiscences' - quoting Yeats's Autobiographies from my own memory). But
Yeats has his own anti-Victorian reasons for stressing the difference. I'm
not sure whether Tennyson can be described as an influence on Verlaine, but
Verlaine certainly did recognise a kindred spirit. Perhaps he overestimates
Tennyson's attachment to music - Lord Alfred didn't go as far as Swinburne
down the path of 'de la musique avant toute chose'. But English generally
strikes the French as a musical language anyway.
Mallarmé liked 'Maud', perhaps mostly because it's every bit as morbid as
anything Poe ever wrote. Mallarmé's own arcane, 'modernist' style is far
removed from Tennyson - little influence there indeed it seems. But the
admiration is there, and it cautions us against any clear-cut distinction
between fuddy-duddy Victorians and French-inspired modernists.
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