Author: Cole, Sarah Rose
Date published: April 1, 2012
In July 1844, the barrister and journalist George Venables found a mysterious volume in the Temple chambers that he shared with his lifelong friend Henry Lushington. As leading members of the Cambridge Apostles, the secret society whose "brethren" kept up their bonds long after their days of college debating, Venables and Lushington allowed their chambers to be used as an unofficial meeting ground for Cambridge men passing through London.1 Thus, Venables may not have been much surprised to discover that his bookshelf contained an apparently abandoned manuscript by his fellow Apostle, Alfred Tennyson. Stuck behind the other books, the strange volume resembled a butcher's account book in a very shabby condition; it contained the drafts of Tennyson's untitled "elegies," the brief poems that he had been periodically writing since the sudden death of his closest Cambridge friend Arthur Hallam in 1833. In response to Venables's inquiry, Tennyson wrote:
You had better keep the MSS which you mention till I see you. I suppose I must myself have slipt it behind your books to keep it out of people's way, for I scarcely liked everyone who came in to overhaul those poems & moreover the volume itself was not fit to be seen, foul with the rust dust and mildew of innumerable moons.2
When Tennyson finally decided, in 1849, that it was time to make his private elegies "fit to be seen" by a wider public, he discovered that he had once again mislaid the manuscript in the Temple, where Venables and Lushington had often offered the poet a resting place in his life of "genteel vagrancy."3 This time, Tennyson decided that the manuscript must be retrieved at once, and assigned the task to his young disciple Coventry Patmore.4 While Patmore gleefully showed offthe notebook to assorted friends as "the greatest literary treasure in England-the manuscript of Tennyson's next poem," his wife copied out the verses at Tennyson's request (qtd. Shatto and Shaw, p. 19). The still untitled book, printed from Emily Patmore's fair copy, then went back to the Temple, where the proofs were corrected by the experienced journalist George Venables.
While the story of In Memoriam's journey to publication may be familiar to Tennyson scholars, the collaboration between Tennyson's friends carries a symbolic resonance that has not yet been noticed. When Tennyson asked for the help of George Venables and Emily Patmore, he brought together the real-life models for Thackeray's George Warrington (the charismatic "woman-hater" of Pendennis) and Coventry Patmore's Honoria, better known as the "Angel in the House."5 Although the equation of literary characters with their supposed models tends to obscure rather than illuminate literary texts, the image of the iconic Victorian bachelor Warrington and the "Angel in the House" laboring together over In Memoriam is too fitting to pass up. No other Victorian text has had quite the dual life of In Memoriam, a poem that came to be read-and continues to be read in modern criticism-as both a ritual text of Victorian household piety and the most extended English poem on male same-sex love.
In the extensive critical debate over the relation between marital domesticity and same-sex bonds in In Memoriam, scholars have shared one overriding assumption: that the most salient form of male-male attachment in Tennyson's work is what we would now call "homosexuality." While earlier readings often take a defensive stance, seeking to explain how the marital imagery of In Memoriam does not point to a homosexual attachment between Tennyson and Hallam, more recent studies generally argue that the poem either expresses or attempts to neutralize homosexual desire.6 In both strands of criticism, male-male love appears as a subversive force (either feared or validated for its divergence from sexual norms), while domestic relationships stand for Victorian normalcy. I suggest, however, that this dichotomy between normalcy and subversion has obscured the connections between same-sex love and the dominant forms of Victorian gender and class identity.
By shifting attention from the category of "homosexuality" to that of "male friendship," I seek to provide an alternative reading, which addresses In Memoriam's immense popularity as well as the intensity of its investment in male-male love. Examining how Tennyson draws on Victorian ideals of masculine intimacy, I argue that In Memoriam treats male friendship as both the means and the goal of the poet's development.7 While critics such as JeffNunokawa and Christopher Crafthave argued that In Memoriam enacts a process of recovery from proscribed homosexual desires, I point to a different process of recovery: the recovery of a lost male friendship that the poet sees as crucial to his own achievement of ruling-class masculine identity. In order to uncover the sometimes elusive contours of Tennyson's developmental narrative, I focus on the shifting textual relationships between two Victorian ideals of intimacy: first, the bond of domestic attachment, which includes both men and women within a space defined as feminine; and second, the bond of male university friendship, which excludes women from participation in a masculine sphere of intellect and political commitment. (Returning to our opening anecdote, we might call these two strands the "Angel in the House" and "George Warrington" modes.) By analyzing the metaphors and analogies that Tennyson uses to capture these two forms of attachment, I seek to understand a developmental trajectory that occurs on the level of figurative language rather than narrative plot. I propose that the poem moves through a series of distinct phases, which are marked by the changing balance between domestic attachment and exclusively male friendship. By gradually subordinating domestic imagery to imagery of male union, In Memoriam brings the poet-speaker closer to his goal of masculine intellectual and political power.
The topic of male friendship thus enables me to address an ongoing debate about the structure of In Memoriam. To put the question simply: does the poem actually have a developmental plot? The divergence of In Memoriam from linear narrative is well known; although it shares the thematic concerns of the Bildungsroman novel genre, Tennyson's poem is structured as a collection of discrete moments, which require the reader to reconstruct the plot (if any) out of a series of metaphors, meditations, and oblique references to the speaker's experience. Yet, even as he rejects the conventions of developmental plotting, Tennyson constantly invokes narratives of development, ranging from the collective evolution of humankind (the "crowning race" and the "Christ that is to be") to the more modestly personal assertion that "I myself . . . have grown / To something greater than before."8 While some scholars, such as Peter Sacks in The English Elegy, have contended that the dispersed structure and melancholic imagery of In Memoriam undermine Tennyson's own developmental claims, others-especially those following the methods of queer criticism-have detected a forward trajectory based on sexual identity.9 Thus, in his influential and frequently cited reading, JeffNunokawa argues that "In Memoriam proposes a developmental model of male sexuality which establishes the homoerotic as an early phase that enables and defines the heterosexual" (p. 428), while Christopher Craftfinds that the "heterosexualizing semiotics of Victorian masculinity inscribe a developmental trajectory" which attempts to contain "the intractable circulation of male homosexual desire" in the poem's text (pp. 57, 61).
While these queer readings of Tennyson have been invaluable in bringing to light the connections between developmental narrative and same-sex attachment, a markedly different set of connections becomes apparent if we put aside the post-Victorian model of a binary opposition between homosexual and heterosexual identities.10 Like Sharon Marcus in her recent work Between
Women, I try to suspend the scholarly assumption that "gender and sexuality as defined by marriage and the family" are "opposed to gender and sexuality as defined by same-sex bonds."11 With regard to Victorian women, Marcus argues that these marital and same-sex identities were "intertwined in ways that make homosexuality and heterosexuality less than useful categories for dividing up the Victorian world" (p. 22). In applying this insight to In Memoriam, we need to keep in mind several key differences between male relations and the female bonds that Marcus analyzes. As Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick argues in Between Men, modern Western societies have usually treated male "homosocial desire" as both a source of power (through the same-sex bonds of patriarchal rule) and a subject of prohibition (through the legal and psychological sanctions against sodomy).12 Within this interplay of power and prohibition, however, many literary texts of the mid-Victorian period-including the novels of Dickens and Thackeray as well as In Memoriam-foreground a type of openly affectionate male friendship which has been marginalized by Sedgwick's emphasis on homosexual panic, and which recalls the intimate female bonds in Marcus' study.13 In the writing and reception of In Memoriam, we can see how Victorian men, as well as women, experienced what Marcus calls "complementary relationships among family, marriage, and friendship" (p. 71).
This Victorian complementarity between opposite-sex and same-sex bonds is nowhere more evident than in contemporary reviews of In Memoriam. When they praised Tennyson as the consummate poet of "love," reviewers often moved rapidly between different types of affection-family relations, cross-sex romance, same-sex friendship-that modern criticism of In Memoriam has tended to keep apart. Thus, John Forster claims that Tennyson has exalted "manly and enduring friendship" just as Petrarch exalted his love for Laura, while George Lewes finds In Memoriam superior to previous elegies (such as Milton's Lycidas) because Tennyson treats male friendship as a "passion" rather than "mere sentiment."14 While scholars have recently focused on the notorious Times review that accused Tennyson of misplaced "amatory tenderness" and a "strange manner of address to a man," the bulk of positive Victorian reviews tell a different story: of a culture in which the "passion" of male friendship was widely (though not universally) compared to, and valued alongside, marital and domestic intimacy.15
This mobility of "love" between marital and same-sex relations may serve to explain the multiple and unpredictable Victorian interpretations of Tennyson's own marital analogies, such as section 13 of In Memoriam:
Tears of the widower, when he sees A late-lost form that sleep reveals, And moves his doubtful arms, and feels Her place is empty, fall like these;
Which weep a loss for ever new,
A void where heart on heart reposed;
And, where warm hands have prest and closed,
Silence, till I be silent too. (13.1-8)
It is well known that Queen Victoria herself adopted these lines, changing "widower" to "widow" in her own copy of the poem after Prince Albert's death (Sinfield, p. 127). While Alan Sinfield has argued that the Queen needed to heterosexualize the poem, adapting it "to a relationship in which a shared bed legitimately features" (p. 127), a comparison to other Victorian responses suggest that the Queen's adaptation may have been affirmative rather than corrective. In the memoirs of the journalist Edmund Yates, for example, the same section of In Memoriam is quoted in tribute to Charles Dickens, following Yates's recollection of male intimacy: "What he was to the world, the world knows; to me he was the most charming of companions, the kindest of friends."16 Meanwhile, the reviews by Lewes and Forster praise the "tears of a widower" as an especially "pathetic" passage that can appeal to any mourner who has experienced "the depths of despairing isolation" (Lewes, p. 303; Forster, p. 357).
This domestication of male friendship among the virtues of family life forms the first strand that I will trace in the developmental trajectory of In Memoriam. The second strand, however, is exclusively masculine: the bond of Victorian university friendship, which was implicitly opposed to the communion of husband and wife. As the historian John Tosh observes about Victorian England, the "attraction of young men to each other was enhanced by the generally superior quality of their education compared with that of girls."17 In a letter quoted by Tosh, an Oxford student (the future historian Mandell Creighton) expresses his doubts that "many men who had thoughts worth recounting" ever discussed their ideas with their wives and then turns to the example of In Memoriam to clinch his point: "I should like to hear from Tennyson a comparison of his feelings toward Arthur Hallam and towards his wife" (qtd. Tosh, p. 110).
While In Memoriam thus drew from and spoke to a larger association between friendship and the intellectual communion of ruling-class men, Tennyson's work emerges most directly from one particular institution of university friendship: the Cambridge Conversazione Society, better known as the Cambridge Apostles. This secret society, which would later become notorious as the genesis of both the Bloomsbury Group and the Cambridge Spies, began as an early-Victorian "brotherhood" with a self-appointed mission to reform Britain through humanistic education.18 In the words of their historian Peter Allen, the Apostles believed that "society was to be regenerated by a small group of right-thinking men, by men who, having seen deeply into themselves, could teach others to see, in short by men like themselves" (p. 80). For the Apostles, the primary instrument of this self-examination and social regeneration was male friendship. As Tennyson's friend John Kemble recalled: "No society ever existed in which more freedom of thought was found, consistent with the most perfect affection between the members. . . . To my education given in the Society, I feel I owe every power I possess" (qtd. Allen, p. 8). While scholars continue to debate about the actual political allegiance of the Apostles (who have recently been called "liberals," "subversive conservatives," and proponents of a "higher radicalism"), two key features of the group's belief system are beyond debate: first, that they saw their social mission as licensed by their own personal development, their process of learning to "see deeply into themselves"; and second, that they saw male friendship as the means to such a development.19
While these two beliefs helped to shape Tennyson's vision of male friendship, his poem does not turn immediately or unproblematically to the Apostles' model. In place of an educational male friendship that regenerates the ruling classes, In Memoriam initially depicts a passionate mourning that is often indistinguishable from marital or familial experience. In the earliest (and most celebrated) sections of In Memoriam, Tennyson associates male-male love with feminine domesticity rather than with models of development that are supposed to be uniquely masculine. How-and how much-Tennyson's text ultimately moves toward the "Apostolic" model of friendship is the question that I would now like to address.
As critics have often remarked, In Memoriam expresses the poet's mourning for his lost friend through a series of domestic analogies that involve a sometimes bewildering variety of gender-crossings. From the "tears of the widower" (13.1) to the plight of the girl condemned to "perpetual maidenhood" (6.43) by the death of her fiancé, the poem uses both male and female personae to convey the poet's mourning. While critics have often debated about the possible sexual implications of these marital analogies, I seek instead to understand how Tennyson's figurative language creates an implicit developmental trajectory within In Memoriam. By tracing the shifting balance between Tennyson's domestic analogies and his images of strictly masculine friendship, I find that the poem moves through three phases, which enact a progression from a feminizing experience of grief to a recovery of "Apostolic" male authority.20
In the first phase (sections 1-27), which focuses on the poet's immediate response to bereavement, domestic scenarios are used positively, in order to express, validate, and universalize the experience of male-male love and loss. In the second phase, however, Tennyson begins to use domestic analogies negatively, in order to show how the two male friends are separated by the barrier between life and afterlife: in this turbulent, transitional phase (sections 28-77), scenarios of gender division appear in opposition to the Apostolic ideal of equal friendship between educated men. Finally, in the third phase, as the poet moves toward a new spiritual union with his lost friend (sections 78-131), cross-gendering analogies virtually disappear from the poem. Rather than depicting male friendship indirectly, through extended analogies of marriage and family, Tennyson now foregrounds a specifically masculine relationship. And, although he continues to associate this same-sex love with domestic values and settings, Tennyson increasingly depicts male friendship as superior to cross-sex relationships, carving out a space for a supposedly superior male bond within the sphere of Victorian domesticity.
In the first phase, Tennyson embraces domestic analogies to validate the intensity of his mourning, placing his loss of a male friend within the socially recognized framework of Victorian family mourning practices. In one section alone, the object of his mourning appears not only as a friend, but also as a brother, spouse, and mother:
My friend, the brother of my love;
My Arthur, whom I shall not see
Till all my widow'd race be run;
Dear as the mother to the son,
More than my brothers are to me. (9.16-20)
Although Tennyson's domestic analogies are usually drawn out into brief narratives, rather than being condensed in this way, this section (the first that Tennyson wrote after hearing of Hallam's death) crystallizes the larger pattern of the poem's first phase. Marital, familial, and friendship roles appear to be interchangeable, as long as they express love and mourning; and the overall emphasis is on images of marriage and family.
Instead of invoking the pastoral elegy tradition of Milton's Lycidas and Shelley's Adonais, a model that associates mourning with classical learning and with a specifically masculine tribute from one male poet to another, Tennyson initially positions himself within the Victorian sphere of domestic intimacy. By so doing, he links male friendship to contemporary practices that legitimized-even required-an all-consuming period of mourning within the family. For Victorians of the middle and upper classes, the gradations of mourning dress formalized social expectations about the relative importance of different forms of bereavement: the conventions prescribed two years in mourning after the loss of a spouse, one year after the loss of a parent or child,
and six months after the loss of a brother or sister.21 For friends not related by blood, however, there was no conventional expectation about practices of mourning. In the text of In Memoriam, such a lack of social recognition becomes a source of both anxiety and opportunity. On the one hand, the poet must turn toward domestic analogies in order to capture his loss of a male bond that (in the words of Tennyson's fellow Apostle Robert Monteith) exceeded "common friendship" (qtd. Allen, p. 153). On the other hand, since the poet is not bound by any single and defined family relation, he can annex them all to his expression of love and shiftbetween them at will. Instead of having his degree of mourning fixed by convention, he can mourn for Hallam as for a spouse, a parent, and a sibling, expressing an intensity of love and bereavement that seems to exceed every conventional category.
Although these domestic analogies suggest a fluidity of identity, they nonetheless incorporate the fixed hierarchies of gender and class that structured Victorian home life. In contrast to the ideals of equality and mutuality that shape In Memoriam's later celebrations of male friendship, the poem's early sections repeatedly invoke the separate and unequal roles of men and women, masters and servants. Domestic hierarchy is most bluntly expressed when the poet divides his own psychic household along class lines: his "lesser griefs" are "but as servants in a house / Where lies the master newly dead," while his deeper, inexpressible sorrows are like the master's children, shattered by the death of their father (20.1-4). In a less explicit mode, Tennyson's depictions of grieving women rely on shared assumptions about female subordination. Thus, in the poet's extended analogy between his own loss and that of a girl bereftof her fiancé, the maiden's lost beloved is her "future Lord" (6.37), and her only wish is to "please him best" (6.31). When the poet compares his own plight to hers, recalling how (not knowing of Hallam's death) he "wrought" his poems "to please him well," he takes on a feminine position, including both a woman's vanity and her powerlessness (6.19-20). This identification casts the grieving poet as futile and helpless, yet also valorizes his total absorption in grief:
O what to her shall be the end?
And what to me remains of good?
To her, perpetual maidenhood,
And unto me no second friend. (6.41-44)
While a Victorian man would usually be expected to temper his widowhood with professional activities and an eventual second marriage, widowed women rarely remarried and often had little to distract them from bereavement.22 By identifying himself with a widowed yet virginal girl, whose life is over before it has begun, Tennyson captures a state of absolute stasis-as far as possible from the developmental ideals of Apostolic male friendship.
The invocation of "perpetual maidenhood" points to a larger pattern in In Memoriam: throughout the poem, images of feminine stasis are opposed to images of masculine development, but the poet initially chooses to identify himself with the former. That Tennyson was fascinated by images of female entrapment is no news for anyone who has read "Mariana" or "The Lady of Shalott." In scholarship on In Memoriam, too, "the feminization of the poet's response to Hallam's death" has long been recognized.23 What I would like to explore, however, is the way that In Memoriam uses images of feminine stasis to construct an opposing concept of developmental male friendship. In the narrative of In Memoriam, one of the main threads is the process by which the poet first loses and then begins to recover a belief in the possibility of development itself-a belief that depends on his position as a male subject involved in an educational friendship with another man. The poem's first section signals the poet's loss of this belief, in terms that implicitly refer to the Bildungsroman genre, the primary nineteenth-century form of developmental narrative:
I held it truth, with him who sings
To one clear harp in divers tones,
That men may rise on stepping-stones
Of their dead selves to higher things. (1.1-4)
In this first section, which represents the beginning of his journey through the text, the poet recalls that he once believed in a developmental ideal-an ideal that he now questions. Not only has he lost the friend who once embodied the Apostolic ideal of male self-development, but he is now determined to resist the passage of time altogether, because any forward motion might lessen his love for the dead: he refuses to let "the victor Hours . . . scorn / The long result of love" (1.13-14).
In evoking and then questioning a "truth" put forward by a masculine "him who sings," Tennyson begins his poem not with Christ or Arthur Hallam, but with Goethe-the author of the foundational Bildungsroman, Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre. (According to Tennyson's later notes on the poem, his first stanza refers to "Goethe's creed" [qtd. Shatto and Shaw p. 162].) Yet, by the end of the stanza, Tennyson transforms Goethe's creed of progressive Bildung (or self-development through cultural education) into a violent process that requires the living to tread on the dead, recalling Byron's "Siege of Corinth":
Or pave the path with many a corse,
O'er which the following brave may rise,
Their stepping-stone-the last who dies!24
In the state of bereavement narrated by the early sections of In Memoriam, then, the process of development becomes equated with psychic warfare-not a harmonious movement to "higher things," but a treading down of corpses on a battlefield. "Close thy Byron; open thy Goethe" is Thomas Carlyle's famous prescription for early-Victorian manhood.25 In the first phase of In Memoriam, however, Tennyson rejects both Goethe and Byron, discarding both progressive Bildung and melodramatic struggle in favor of a stasis that he identifies as feminine.
In the poet's static and feminized state of mourning, the educational and developmental lessons of male friendship become lost-not entirely forgotten, but cordoned offinto an inaccessible past that is separated from present experience by barriers of language and imagery. At the end of the poem's first phase, when the poet moves from meditating on his grief to recalling his friendship with Hallam, Tennyson's language enters into a different register, a flatly conventional idyll:26
The path by which we twain did go,
Which led by tracts that pleased us well,
Thro' four sweet years arose and fell,
From flower to flower, from snow to snow:
And we with singing cheer'd the way,
And, crown'd with all the season lent,
From April on to April went,
And glad at heart from May to May. (22.1-8)
With its regular, sing-song rhythm and lack of concrete imagery, this first recollection of lost friendship stands in contrast to the surrounding verses on grief and mourning, which often emphasize vivid everyday details through strategic departures from iambic meter. A few well-known lines may serve for a brief comparison: by stressing the first syllable, the phrase "tears of the widower" stops the easy flow of reading, as do lines that overtly address the theme of breakage. Thus, in his command to his own grief, "Break, thou deep vase of chilling tears," Tennyson cuts offthe first word through both stress and punctuation (4.11), while his description of an unwelcome dawn, "On the bald street breaks the blank day," uses a jarring series of equally stressed syllables (7.12). In contrast to such arresting lines (whose blocked flow makes "arresting" more than just a cliché of praise), the stanzas about the shared "path" of friendship use perfect rhythmic regularity and verbal repetition to mark the transition from grief to an idealized recollection of friendship.
As Tennyson moves toward his first representation of the Apostolic ideal of educational male friendship, he simultaneously embeds this friendship more firmly in the past by introducing the pastoral myth of Arcadia, when "all the lavish hills would hum / The murmur of a happy Pan" (23.11-12). It is only within this distanced Greek setting that the poet can recall a state of intellectual communion:
When each by turns was guide to each, And Fancy light from Fancy caught, And Thought leapt out to wed with Thought Ere Thought could wed itself with Speech. (23.13-16)
This evocation of a relationship in which "each" is "guide to each" recalls the Apostles' educational model, in which it is reciprocal friendship (rather than the hierarchical relationships between university dons and students) that holds the key to teaching and learning. In depicting this lost communion, Tennyson's language evokes the complete equality and "merging of individual identities" that the historian David Halperin has identified as the central ideal of elite male friendship since the classical era (How to Do the History of Homosexuality, p. 119). In the mutual exchange between "each" and "each," "Fancy" and "Fancy," "Thought" and "Thought," it is impossible to assign separate roles to the poet and his friend. But, in the first phase of In Memoriam, this masculine union is confined to a passing moment of memory and fantasy, which is abruptly terminated by a return to scenes of present-day domestic mourning. When, in the poem's next phase, Tennyson reintroduces the possibility of developmental male friendship, he does so only by moving beyond both the family home and the university, into an imagined afterlife.
In the poem's second phase (sections 28-77), which shifts from the immediate experience of grief to speculations about God and the survival of the soul, images of masculine development become problematic in a new way. Rather than fearing that he will outgrow the memory of his lost friend, the poet now begins to worry about the mysterious, supernatural enlightenment that his friend may experience beyond the grave
Thy spirit ere our fatal loss
Did ever mount from high to higher;
As mounts the heavenward altar-fire,
As flies the lighter thro' the gross.
But thou art turn'd to something strange,
And I have lost the links that bound
Thy changes; here upon the ground,
No more partaker of thy change. (41.1-8)
Recalling Hallam's spiritual progress before his sudden death, Tennyson simultaneously recalls the first lines of his own poem, with their reference to the creed of Goethe. In Tennyson's idealized memory of Hallam's life, his friend could rise effortlessly, like an incorporeal substance lighter than air, without needing to tread roughly on any of his own "dead selves." However, it is precisely Hallam's dead self that the poet longs to regain; if Hallam has any living self, it is now "turned to something strange" which no longer invites the poet to "partake" of shared development. The caesura in the middle of line 7, where a dividing semicolon leaves the poet trapped in a sentence fragment without subject or verb, decisively severs Hallam's new "changes" from the stasis of the poet who is stuck "here upon the ground." Once again, the equality and mutuality of male friendship prove to be no more than an idealized memory. But, rather than being negated by Hallam's absence and Tennyson's own fall into feminized mourning, the ideal of equal male friendship is now threatened by the very possibility that the poet has been desiring: that Hallam might still exist after death.
While these peculiarly Victorian anxieties about the afterlife may strike modern critics as slightly risible, we need to take them seriously in order to understand how the speaker of In Memoriam struggles to regain his faith in male friendship and masculine development. According to Michael Wheeler's study Heaven, Hell, and the Victorians, Victorian theologians and popular religious texts often envisioned heaven in terms of "progress, or development, or completion."27 In keeping with the developmental narratives that structured so much of Victorian social and scientific thought, the afterlife too was increasingly seen as a place of individual spiritual progress and unceasing activity, rather than static worship of God. Yet, on the other hand, ancient Biblical traditions and the actual practices of Victorian deathbed consolation tended to emphasize the analogy between death and sleep, reassuring mourners with peaceful images of "sleep in the grave" or "sleep in Jesus" (Wheeler pp. 23-25).
In the sections of In Memoriam that first introduce his concerns about the afterlife, Tennyson shifts rapidly between those two competing views, always presenting them through gendered images of development and stasis. Perhaps Hallam has now reached a new maturity beyond his friend's ken, busily performing "those great offices that suit / The full-grown energies of heaven" (40.19-20). On the other hand, "If Sleep and Death be truly one" (43.1), then perhaps Hallam is immersed not in masculine "offices" but in feminine stasis, awaiting Tennyson like a Sleeping Beauty. Lying "unconscious of the sliding hour" amidst the "still garden of the souls" (43.5, 10), the "folded bloom" of Hallam's spirit might remain unchanged after all: "And love will last as pure and whole / As when he loved me here in Time" (43.2, 13-14). This layered analogy-between death and sleep, and then between a sleeping soul and a flower bud-represents the extreme limit of both feminization and stasis. Not only does the flower analogy transform male souls into impenetrable yet eroticized female bodies, but it also puts offthe reunion of friends until Judgment Day, the moment of the "spiritual prime" when the "dawning soul" will at last "rewaken" to knowledge of the virginally preserved love (43.15-16).
Although this scenario offers the comfort of an unchanged relationship, it does so only by transferring the "perpetual maidenhood" of the bereaved girl into an indefinite afterlife. And the rejection of this scenario forms a pivotal transition in the text; from this point on, Tennyson discards the comforting analogy of sleep and death, and accepts that his friend is moving forward in the afterlife. Although this assumption often leads to anxieties about separation and inequality, with the poet hopelessly following his friend "evermore a life behind" (41.24), Tennyson nonetheless uses the series of poems on the afterlife to reintroduce the possibility of masculine development and to question his own earlier embrace of cross-gendering domestic analogies.
When Tennyson first introduces his concern about Hallam's incomprehensible development in the afterlife, he does so by imagining and then explicitly rejecting another analogy of female domestic experience:
Could we forget the widow'd hour And look on Spirits breathed away, As on a maiden in the day When first she wears her orange-flower! (40.1-4)
In contrast to the poem's earlier crossgendering analogies, which occurred in a declarative present tense that equated the poet with both female and male figures of mourning, this analogy between Hallam's soul and a bride is presented as purely conditional. Although Tennyson goes on to spin out this hypothetical scenario for several more verses, cataloguing all the familiar domestic rituals in which the bride takes "her latest leave of home" (40.6),
he then rejects his own analogy:
Ay me, the difference I discern!
How often shall her old fireside
Be cheer'd with tidings of the bride,
How often she herself return. (40.21-24)
In emphasizing the "difference" between the bride's trajectory and that of Hallam's soul, who now journeys forever in "undiscover'd lands" (40.32), Tennyson presents the typical female pattern as both desirable and inapposite.
In this new marital analogy, the woman does not appear static, so much as predictable; she is capable of development, but only along lines that are already marked out for her by social and biological laws. In her progress toward "other realms of love" (40.12), the bride moves between two bounded domestic spaces, her parents' house and her husband's; and her destiny takes her simply from daughterhood to motherhood, "as is meet and fit" (40.14). This narrative of limited female development presents nineteenth-century "separate spheres" ideology at its most extreme. As an ardent admirer of Jane Austen's novels, and as the author of The Princess, Tennyson would have been keenly aware of alternative narratives that present the progress from daughterhood to marriage as anything but simple and predictable. However, In Memoriam never grants this kind of complexity to female development. Instead, as section 40 reveals with particular self-reflexive clarity, Tennyson deliberately indulges in fantasies of unchanging femininity, in order to underline the unpredictable potentialities of male development. That a Victorian male poet should promote such a gender binary may scarcely seem surprising, but Tennyson makes this conventional move for an unexpected reason-not to shore up the authority of heterosexual masculinity, but to chart the loss and recovery of male-male love.
As an alternative to the rejected analogy of the bridal leave-taking, Tennyson offers a vision of renewed male friendship that encompasses the belief in a developmental Heaven. Speculating about what may happen when he finally rejoins Hallam in the afterlife, the poet suggests:
And so may Place retain us still,
And he the much-beloved again,
A lord of large experience, train
To riper growth the mind and will:
And what delights can equal those
That stir the spirit's inner deeps,
When one that loves but knows not, reaps
A truth from one that loves and knows? (42.5-12)
This moment is a turning point in the narrative of the poet's own progress through the poem, since it is here that he first thinks of educational male friendship as a relationship that he might yet regain. No longer placing male-male love only in the idealized past, Tennyson projects this relationship into a desired future, in which the hierarchical gap between heavenly teacher and earthly learner can be bridged by the "delights" of mutual love. Discarding his earlier language of reciprocal education ("each" as "guide to each"), Tennyson instead recalls the legacy of Greek educational pederasty. He thus draws on an alternate strand in the institutional culture of the Apostles, who (as Richard Dellamora shows in Masculine Desire) sought to revive Greek love while carefully avoiding the "genital expression of that relation" (Dellamora p. 23). Several decades in advance of the Oxford Hellenism analyzed by Linda Dowling, the Apostles had already adopted Plato as the classical philosopher best suited to their goal of self-cultivation.28 In his essay on Cicero, Arthur Hallam condemns the Roman orator's merely practical concept of male friendship and prefers Plato's "sublime principle of love," while regretting that modern readers have been "repelled" from Plato by the accusation of male-male sexual contact.29 In relations among the Apostles, this desexualized form of Greek education found expression in an extravagant language of hero-worship. Thus, Hallam described F. D. Maurice, the group's first leader, as a mentor to all his friends: "I know well many whom . . . he has moulded like a second Nature, and these too men eminent for intellectual power."30
Even when such a mentor-pupil relationship involves self-surrender, it nonetheless links male friendship to developmental capacities that are supposed to be peculiarly masculine. Unlike In Memoriam's perpetual maidens and happy brides, whose biology is destiny, male friends can apparently take on the role of a "second nature," actively shaping each other's capacity for growth. In Tennyson's self-consoling vision, Hallam's posthumous job will be to "train to riper growth the mind and will." Yet the section in which Tennyson first imagines this relationship remains a hypothesis, rather than a conviction: Tennyson suggests that Hallam "may" become his teacher in heaven, and the section ends with a series of questions. Most problematically, this renewed pedagogical relationship is confined to an imagined afterlife, thus still remaining inaccessible to present experience. Only through the poet's own continued development, enacted in the forward yet fluctuating motion of his text, will he reach the point where he can speak of friendship in the present tense: "I felt and feel, tho' leftalone, / His being working in mine own, / The footsteps of his life in mine" (85.42-44).
In asserting "I felt and feel," Tennyson joins together the past and present, the two modes that were initially split between pastoral memories of friendship and domestic scenarios of grief. The attempt to blend past friendship and present experience is the main project of the poem's third phase (sections 78-131), which seeks to recover the lost friendship both through recollections and through moments of mystical union between the living poet and his dead friend. The key moment that brings together past and present most fully is section 95, where the poet's reading of Hallam's letters sends him into a "trance" that seems to unite their souls. In "those fall'n leaves which kept their green, / The noble letters of the dead" (95.23-24), the poet hears "the silent-speaking words" (95.26), which express
The faith, the vigour, bold to dwell
On doubts that drive the coward back,
And keen thro' wordy snares to track
Suggestion to her inmost cell.
So word by word, and line by line,
The dead man touch'd me from the past,
And all at once it seem'd at last
His living soul was flashed on mine.31 (95.29-36)
This section not only brings together Tennyson and Hallam, but also unites recollection and spiritual possession, the two main strands of male-male attachment in the last phase of the poem. In sections 87-89, Tennyson has been recalling moments when he and Hallam acted as partners within larger circles of intimacy-first at Cambridge, among their "band / Of youthful friends" (87.21-22), and then at the country "retreat" of the poet's own family home, where "my Arthur" drew "all in circle . . . About him" (89.13, 6, 21-22). Once he has placed his memories of friendship within these sociable contexts, however, the poet turns in sections 91-95 to the question of his own private reunion with Hallam's spirit, captured in the invitation: "Descend, and touch, and enter" (93.13). While recent critics have debated over whether that request should be read as subversively homoerotic or traditionally Christian, I am interested in how In Memoriam fulfills this desire for a ghostly "touch" within the nexus between male friendship and progressive development.32 More specifically, I read the trance scene of section 95 as an affirmation of the masculine privilege of learning from religious doubt, a privilege shared by male friends and linked to the group pedagogy of the Cambridge Apostles.
It is significant that the "living soul" of the "dead man" touches the poet by means of his letters about religion, a typical product of the intellectual collaboration among the Apostles. According to the historian William Lubenow, the collective intimacy of the Apostles was fueled by their divergence from the Anglican orthodoxy of Cambridge: "Friendship encouraged the Apostles' speculations; speculation encouraged comradely feelings; friendship consoled them for their feelings of religious loss" (p. 71). In this process, letters on religious faith and doubt were not only exchanged between intimate friends, but also passed through the network of friends-a practice that ensured collective support from the group, while maintaining secrecy from the university authorities (Lubenow p. 34, p. 71). While Isobel Armstrong offers a less sympathetic account, interpreting the Apostles' devotion to private letters as a sign of their elitism and withdrawal from public debates about political change (p. 27), she and Lubenow agree in seeing the letter genre as a politically charged feature of Apostolic male intimacy.
In granting Hallam's letters the power to convey a longed-for ghostly "touch," Tennyson not only affirms the Apostles' developmental ideal of male friendship, but also enacts this development in his own transformation as the protagonist and narrator of his text. The key term for understanding the poet's own forward movement, here, is "doubt." In his praise of Hallam's letters, the poet uses terms redolent of masculine struggle and questing: "bold" and full of "vigour," Hallam dares to "dwell on doubts" that would "drive the coward back;" he pursues his ideas like a hunter, negotiating "wordy snares" in order to "track suggestion." This affirmation of spiritual combat and hunting stands in contrast to the poet's earlier praise of simple female piety, and helps to mark his own development in the course of the text. Here, once again, Tennyson uses a convention of "separate spheres" ideology-in this case, the cliché of the domestic woman as naturally pious-in order to work through problems posed by the loss and recovery of male friendship. Thus, the first and third phases of In Memoriam include a matched pair of sections (33 and 96) that convey opposite messages about the values of feminine Christianity and masculine "doubt." In the early section (33), the poet admonishes a male hearer whose spiritual "toil and storm" is in danger of corrupting an instinctive female faith: "Leave thou thy sister when she prays, / Her early Heaven, her happy views" (33.1, 33.5-6). In the later section (96), the address is reversed, as the poet now speaks to a female listener in order to defend male religious struggles against her censorious piety:33
You say, but with no touch of scorn,
Sweet-hearted, you, whose light-blue eyes
Are tender over drowning flies,
You tell me, doubt is Devil-born.
I know not: one indeed I knew
In many a subtle question versed,
Who touch'd a jarring lyre at first,
But ever strove to make it true:
Perplext in faith, but pure in deeds,
At last he beat his music out.
There lives more faith in honest doubt,
Believe me, than in half the creeds. (96.1-12)
In contrast to the pious "sister" of section 33, who "leads melodious days" simply because she has never questioned her childhood faith (33.8), the male quester in section 96 must struggle actively to produce his music, mastering his "jarring lyre" until "at last he beat his music out." Although the echoes of section 95 suggest that the man in question is Hallam, the refusal to name this "one" allows the possibility that Tennyson is describing himself as well, modestly recounting how his poem has come to enact a spiritual progress that reflects Hallam's teachings. The phrase "at last," which occurs in section 95 when Hallam's "soul is flashed" on Tennyson's and in section 96 when Hallam reaches his developmental goal, suggests the connection between these two forms of consummation. In this context, Tennyson's famous line about "honest doubt" emerges as an affirmation that the poet-speaker of In Memoriam has developed to the point where he can make a commitment to development itself as a principle linked to male friendship.
Once Tennyson has established spiritual Bildung as a process that both depends on and enables male bonds, his poem takes a more explicitly political turn, moving outward from intimate male friendship to the vocation of national leadership. That vocation is imagined as belonging both to Hallam and to Tennyson, in different modes. While it is Hallam who appears (in a somewhat incongruous mix of religious and political language) as "A soul on highest mission sent, / A potent voice of Parliament" (113.10-11), the poet himself strives to fulfill a public function through the forward motion of his text, which moves from private grief to social and political concerns. In the famous lines "Ring out the old, ring in the new," Tennyson not only calls for "redress to all mankind," but also for his own transformation into a poetic agent of social redemption: "Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes, / But ring the fuller minstrel in" (106.5, 12, 19-20). It might have been better, however, if Tennyson's "fuller minstrel" had stayed away; when Tennyson turns to political concerns in the final sections of In Memoriam, the politics are frankly reactionary. Imagining Hallam's leadership-both in his lost future as a living man and in his mysterious influence from beyond the grave-Tennyson casts his friend as a counter-revolutionary force, who stands for "social truth" against the "red foolfury of the Seine" (127.5, 7).
Linking the threats of French revolution and Irish insurrection, Tennyson follows common Victorian practice by contrasting the unstable "Celtic" character to the solidity of the Anglo-Saxon.34 When Tennyson presents Hallam as his own ideal model, calling on his lost friend to "let thy wisdom make me wise" (109.24), he includes among Hallam's qualities:
A love of freedom rarely felt,
Of freedom in her regal seat
Of England; not the schoolboy heat,
The blind hysterics of the Celt. (109.13-16)
As Alan Sinfield observes, Tennyson grapples with his Romantic legacy by "renegotiating Shelley's link between poetic inspiration and freedom" so that the concept of "freedom" comes to restrain rather than incite social change (Sinfield, pp. 24, 29). This insight, I would suggest, can usefully be applied to the poem's developmental model of male friendship, where an apparent freedom-the freedom of religious doubt and speculationturns out to support the class and gender hierarchies embodied in the "grand old name of gentleman" (In Memoriam 111.22). In the extensive scholarly discussion of Tennyson's politics, little has been made of his verbal association between "schoolboy heat" and "blind hysterics"-a link that presents the revolutionary "Celt" in double opposition to masculine maturity, as both a hysterical female and an immature male. If there is, as some critics have argued, a dangerous schoolboy desire in In Memoriam, then I would point to this section as the locus of this danger-a threat that lies not in male-male sexuality but in revolutionary politics.35 In his condemnation of "schoolboy heat," Tennyson may well be drawing on his culture's negative associations with schoolboy sexual experimentation, including homosexual experimentation; but the contrasting image of maturity, the English "freedom" associated with Hallam, rests on a valorization of adult male-male love rather than on a growth toward heterosexuality
As we have seen, the early sections of In Memoriam first embrace and then question marital analogies for Tennyson's loss of Hallam. In the later sections, which chart the poet's recovery of male friendship, these cross-gendering analogies virtually disappear, resurfacing only at rare moments when the poet loses faith in his connection with Hallam's soul; the often-quoted section 97, which presents the poet as a neglected "wife" whose intellectual husband "seems to slight her simple heart" (97.8, 20), is the only one of these cross-gendering analogies in the second half of the poem. In place of these cross-gendering domestic analogies, however, the poet increasingly validates the specifically masculine relationship of friendship by placing it within concrete domestic spaces. As the poet-speaker, unmoored from any concrete present location, continues to shiftfreely between symbolic spaces, he begins to recall or imagine moments of male bonding within the sphere of family life. Repeatedly, however, the family group becomes a mere background to the primary drama of male friendship, providing the sanction of domestic values without interrupting an exclusively male communion.
The trance scene of section 95 is typical in this regard: Tennyson first places himself within a domestic-and traditionally genteel-family party on a countryhouse "lawn" (95.1), before opening up that space to a masculine spiritual communion shared by himself and Hallam alone. The climax of the section-and of In Memoriam itself-comes only after "those others, one by one / Withdrew," leaving the poet to capture the space of genteel domesticity for ghostly male friendship (95.17-18). The same pattern is followed in the poem's Epilogue, in which the poet takes on a fatherly role, giving away one of his sisters in marriage to another Cambridge friend who recalls but never replaces Hallam. This time, the country house party has a more narrowly defined heterosexual function-the ritual of marriage-and yet it ends once again in a spiritual reunion between the poet and "that friend of mine who lives in God" (Epilogue, l. 140). As in section 95, the poet places himself within a concrete space of genteel domesticity only in order to "retire" to the still more private space (this time, his bedroom) where he can contemplate Hallam (Epilogue, l. 105).
Is the poem's final message, thus, that male friendship is grounded in and yet superior to marital domesticity? If so, then the arc of the poem itself fulfills the fantasy that the poet earlier confessed in section 84, where he imagines the life that Hallam would have led on earth. Making a rare mention of the planned marriage between Hallam and the poet's own sister, Tennyson creates a domestic scenario centered on his own role as "Uncle" (84.13), sharing Hallam's children as his own: "I seem to meet their least desire,/ To clap their cheeks, to call them mine" (84.17-18). This is the role that major bachelor characters play in mid-Victorian novels such as Pendennis and Great Expectations, in which the bittersweet conclusions depict Warrington as adoptive "uncle" to the children of Pendennis and Laura, or Pip as the companion of his own nephew and namesake. But the cosmic time-frame of In Memoriam allows the role of uncle to be followed and transcended by a posthumous regaining of male union: in the poet's fantasy, Christ "would reach us out the shining hand, / And take us as a single soul" (84.43-4). The blatant marginalization of Hallam's wife-Tennyson's unnamed sister, who appears in section 84 only long enough to "link [Hallam's] life" with the poet's "own house"-is revealing (84.11-12). Although section 84 and the Epilogue both rely on a male exchange of women that recalls Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's triangular model of male homosociality, such triangular relationships are otherwise non-existent in the poem. Instead, the shifting metaphors and hypothetical narratives of In Memoriam call on images of marital domesticity in order to validate male bonds that do not require the exchange of actual women.
Rather than leading from male friendship to heterosexual marriage, In Memoriam's own developmental trajectory is concerned solely with male-male relations. While the more linear narratives of the Victorian Bildungsroman typically use triangular love relationships to link the plots of marriage and same-sex friendship, In Memoriam is able to associate male friendship and marital domesticity without needing to specify a causal, plot-driven connection between these two types of bond.36 Tellingly, Tennyson suggests that male friendship and heterosexual romance may work simultaneously and identically: "First love, first friendship, equal powers, / That marry with the virgin heart" (85.107-108). Instead of distinguishing marriage from male friendship, as even the most homosocial Bildungsroman plots do, Tennyson presents both same-sex "friendship" and cross-sex "love" as passions that "marry with" the heart (emphasis mine). In his repeated emphasis on the union of "hearts," Tennyson moves beyond mere romantic cliché to explore the symbolic potential of a body part that is simultaneously physical and abstract, passionate and yet not specifically sexual.37 In the early section that compares his own weeping to the "tears of the widower," Tennyson moves from a concrete space of physical absence-the dead wife's place in the marital bed-to his own emotional "void where heart on heart reposed." As the poet recovers his faith in male friendship and male development, such extended domestic analogies are replaced by the depiction of male friendship itself as a marriage.
This equation disturbed Tennyson's erstwhile disciple Coventry Patmore, whose work on The Angel in the House seems to have transformed his own opinion of In Memoriam.38 In 1855, rejecting his earlier adulatory review of In Memoriam, Patmore described the poem as "the superlative of love and grief in the wrong place."39 Pointing especially to the line equating "first love" and "first friendship," Patmore asked: "If so much is said of the affectionate relations of man and man, what . . . remains to be said of that incomparably profounder tenderness which is possible and common between man and woman?" (p. 503). Although Patmore's domestic "angel" has been often cited as a universally Victorian ideal, his defense of marital love at the expense of male friendship was not typical of his time. Among the contemporary responses in mainstream British periodicals, only Patmore and the anonymous Times reviewer objected to In Memoriam's depiction of same-sex attachment; as we have seen, most other reviews alternated between general, ungendered praise of "love" and specifically gendered praise of male friendship.
Patmore, however, has a point: what he notices is that In Memoriam not only associates male friendship with marriage, but subordinates marriage to male-male relations. "First love" and "first friendship" may be "equal powers," but-despite Tennyson's own real-life engagement and marriage during the completion of In Memoriam-the poem's narrator never reaches "first love" at all, nor needs to reach it: the ideological power of Victorian domesticity is sufficiently present in the poem's language and settings. Thus mediating between the solely male developmental model of the Cambridge Apostles and the marital trajectory of domestic fiction, Tennyson symbolically links the political power of male friendship to the intimate affections of the Victorian home. In Tennyson's work, the sphere of male friendship is all the more capacious for being unmoored from physical location, and all the more tenacious for being founded on a relationship with a ghost.
1 On the gatherings in Venables' and Lushington's Temple chambers, see John O. Waller, A Circle of Friends: The Tennysons and the Lushingtons of Park House (Columbus: Ohio State Univ. Press, 1986).
2 The Letters of Alfred Lord Tennyson, ed. Cecil Y. Lang and Edgar F. Shannon, 3 vols. (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1981-1990), 1:226.
3 Qtd. in Robert Bernard Martin, Tennyson: The Unquiet Heart (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1980), p. 288.
4 On the preparation of In Memoriam for publication, see Susan Shatto and Marion Shaw, introduction to In Memoriam (Oxford: Clarendon, 1982), pp. 18-21. All quotations from In Memoriam are from this edition.
5 William Makepeace Thackeray, The History of Pendennis, ed. John Sutherland (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1994), p. 378. Although little read now, Pendennis was widely acclaimed by Victorian critics, who often singled out the hero's "manly" friend George Warrington for particular praise. On George Venables (Thackeray's old friend from Charterhouse school) as a model for Warrington, see the Dictionary of National Biography entry on Venables, as well as John Sutherland's editorial notes to Pendennis (p. 1014n37). On Emily Patmore and The Angel in the House, see John Maynard, Victorian Discourses on Sexuality and Religion (New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1993), pp. 181-182.
6 For examples of the earlier, defensive readings, see Martin; Christopher Ricks, Tennyson (New York: Macmillan, 1972); and Donald S. Hair, Domestic and Heroic in Tennyson's Poetry (Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press, 1981). More recent queer readings include Christopher Craft, Another Kind of Love: Male Homosexual Desire in English Discourse, 1850-1920 (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1994); JeffNunokawa, "In Memoriam and the Extinction of the Homosexual," ELH 58 (1991): 427-438; Richard Dellamora, Masculine Desire: The Sexual Politics of Victorian Aestheticism (Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1990); Alan Sinfield, Alfred Tennyson (Oxford: Blackwell, 1986).
7 Following common critical practice, I use "the poet" to designate the unnamed speaker of In Memoriam, rather than the historical figure of Tennyson himself.
8 For these passages, see In Memoriam, Epilogue, l.128, 106.28, Epilogue, ll. 19-20.
9 See Peter M. Sacks, The English Elegy: Studies in the Genre from Spenser to Yeats (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1985).
10 On the construction of the binary opposition between "homosexual" and "heterosexual" at the end of the nineteenth century, see Jonathan Ned Katz, The Invention of Heterosexuality (New York: Plume, 1996); Jeffrey Weeks, Coming Out: Homosexual Politics in Britain, rev. ed. (New York: Quartet, 1993); and David Halperin, One Hundred Years of Homosexuality (New York: Routledge, 1990) and How to Do the History of Homosexuality (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 2002). These scholars provide a more historically grounded interpretation of the shiftin discourse which has been famously summed up by Foucault: "The sodomite had been a temporary aberration; the homosexual was now a species" (The History of Sexuality, vol. I., trans. Robert Hurley [New York: Vintage, 1990], p. 43).
11 Sharon Marcus, Between Women: Friendship, Desire, and Marriage in Victorian England (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 2007), p. 22.
12 For Sedgwick's analysis of what she calls the "coercive double bind" of patriarchal homosociality and homophobia (p. 89), see Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1985), pp. 1-5, 82-91.
13 On the connection between male same-sex love and domestic ideals in the novels of Dickens, see Holly Furneaux, Queer Dickens: Erotics, Families, Masculinities (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 2009), chap. 3. Although Thackeray was more skeptical of domestic ideology, his novels likewise depict male friendships (George and Dobbin in Vanity Fair, Pen and Warrington in Pendennis) as affectionate bonds that reinforce marriage and family.
14 John Forster, "In Memoriam," The Examiner, June 8, 1850, p. 356; George Henry Lewes, "Tennyson's New Poem: In Memoriam," The Leader, June 22, 1850, p. 303.
15 For this striking but exceptional critique of In Memoriam, see "The Poetry of Sorrow," The Times, November 28, 1851, p. 8. For overviews of the positive reviews of In Memoriam, see Edgar F. Shannon, Tennyson and the Reviewers (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1952), and John D. Jump's introduction to Tennyson: The Critical Heritage (London: Routledge, 1967). In order to see how reviewers treated male friendship in particular, I have compared the contemporary responses in Fraser's Magazine, The Westminster Review, The Athenaeum, Tait's Edinburgh Magazine, The Gentleman's Magazine, The North British Review, Sharpe's London Journal, The Prospective Review, and The Eclectic Review, as well as the aforementioned reviews in The Examiner, The Leader, and The Times.
16 Edmund Yates, Recollections and Experiences, 2 vols. (London, 1884), 2:128.
17 John Tosh, A Man's Place: Masculinity and the Middle-Class Home in Victorian England (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1999), p. 109.
18 For numerous examples of the Apostles' use of "brotherhood" and "brethren," see Peter Allen, The Cambridge Apostles: The Early Years (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1978) and William C. Lubenow, The Cambridge Apostles, 1820-1914: Liberalism, Imagination, and Friendship in British Intellectual and Professional Life (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1998). On the early Victorian preoccupation with brotherhoods and secret societies, see James Eli Adams, Dandies and Desert Saints: Styles of Victorian Manhood (Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1995) and Herbert Sussman, Victorian Masculinities: Manhood and Masculine Poetics in Early Victorian Literature and Art (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1995).
19 For descriptions of the Apostles as liberals, conservatives, and radicals, see respectively Lubenow; Isobel Armstrong, Victorian Poetry: Poetry, Poetics and Politics (New York: Routledge, 1993), p. 27; and Phillip Connell, Romanticism, Economics and the Question of 'Culture' (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2001), p. 288.
20 Although critics have always felt free to construct their own divisions, many have followed Tennyson's own off-the-record suggestion that In Memoriam's three Christmas poems serve as turning-points. See A. C. Bradley, A Commentary on Tennyson's In Memoriam (London: Macmillan, 1901), pp. 20-35. My reading follows this tradition, but ultimately depends on my own analysis of the poem's gendered imagery; Tennysonians may want to note that I ignore the final Christmas when I divide the poem into three, rather than four phases.
21 See Pat Jalland, Death in the Victorian Family (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1996), p. 301.
22 See Jalland, chaps. 11-12, on "Gendered Experiences of Widowhood" for women and men.
23 See Marion Shaw, Alfred, Lord Tennyson (New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1988), p. 78.
24 The Siege of Corinth, ll. 194-196, in Lord Byron: The Complete Poetical Works, ed. Jerome McGann, 7 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon, 1981). Shatto and Shaw point out this reference to Byron in their notes on In Memoriam (p. 162).
25 Thomas Carlyle, Sartor Resartus: The Life and Opinions of Herr Teufelsdröckh in Three Books, ed. Rodger L. Tarr (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 2000), p. 143.
26 In drawing this contrast between In Memoriam's grief-stricken present and idealized past, I am indebted to Hair's Domestic and Heroic and Timothy Peltason's Reading In Memoriam (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1985), although I take this contrast in a different direction by focusing on male friendship and masculine development.
27 Michael Wheeler, Heaven, Hell, and the Victorians (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1994), p. 132.
28 On the chronology of Victorian Hellenism, see Linda Dowling, Hellenism and Homosexuality in Victorian Oxford (Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1994) and Frank M. Turner, The Greek Heritage in Victorian Britain (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1981).
29 The Writings of Arthur Hallam, ed. T. H. Vail Motter (New York: Modern Language Association of America, 1943), pp. 157, 159.
30 The Letters of Arthur Henry Hallam, ed. Jack Kolb (Columbus: Ohio State Univ. Press, 1981), p. 372.
31 Here, I am reverting to the original published wording of this passage. In the edition of 1872, Tennyson changed "his living soul" to "the living soul," among other revisions that depersonalize the speaker's relation to his dead friend (see Shatto and Shaw, p. 112).
32 See, for example, Christopher Craft's queer reading of this phrase, and Michael Wheeler's discussion of its Christian background.
33 Critics have usually identified the female listener with Tennyson's fiancée Emily Sellwood (see Shatto and Shaw p. 256); the conflict between her orthodox Christianity and his religious skepticism was one of the many obstacles that delayed their marriage for twelve years.
34 On English ideas of "national character" that equate the French and Irish as "Celtic," see Georgios Varouxakis, Victorian Political Thought on France and the French (New York: Palgrave, 2002).
35 For readings that associate In Memoriam's male-male desire with schoolboy sexuality, see Nunokawa and Craft, who both cite Sedgwick's well-known account of Victorian middle-class homosexuality as a public school phase (Sedgwick pp. 176-179).
36 Here I diverge from Sedgwick's well-known work on homosocial competition, in order to place In Memoriam within the context of the collaborative love triangles which were so common in Victorian fiction. For example, in Bildungsromane such as Disraeli's Coningsby and Eliot's Daniel Deronda, the hero marries the sister of his dearest male friend and political collaborator; while in other examples, such as Pendennis or the Eugene Wrayburn plot of Dickens' Our Mutual Friend, the hero's marriage is eventually arranged by his male domestic partner.
37 On Victorian interest in the heart as a simultaneously physical and emotional site, see Kirstie Blair, Victorian Poetry and the Culture of the Heart (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2006).
38 Patmore initially produced a rave review of In Memoriam in 1850 (North British Review 13 : 532-555), but then used his 1855 review of Tennyson's Maud as a chance to reconsider In Memoriam; in the meantime, he published the first volume of The Angel in the House in 1854.
39 Patmore, "Tennyson's Maud," Edinburgh Review (October 1855), p. 503.
Sarah Rose Cole is a Lecturer on History and Literature at Harvard University. She is currently completing a book project on the Victorian Bildungsroman, focusing on the connection between male friendship and the formation of the middle-class gentleman. Her articles on the novels of Thackeray and Balzac have appeared in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net.