This essay compares and contrasts the first edition of In Memoriam, Tennyson's elegy for his friend Arthur Henry Hallam published in 1850, with more recent editions that distort the original by dramatically compressing the text to fit it onto fewer pages. In this light, I consider the negative impact that such editorial choices may have on students reading the poem for the first time and the benefits of presenting them with the text in the format first encountered by Victorian readers (accessible today thanks to the British Library). The blank space following many of In Memoriam's 131 lyric sections is an integral part of the mourning process that Tennyson unfolds before us. Relatedly, I describe my multiple attempts to teach the poem to undergraduates, as well as a talk on this topic that I gave on a pedagogy panel at the Northeast Victorian Studies Association's 2000 conference, “Victorian Breakdowns.”
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Research Article| April 01 2017
Blank Spaces, Full of Mourning: Against Compressing, Excerpting, and Anthologizing In Memoriam for Classroom Use
Vincent A. Lankewish
Pedagogy (2017) 17 (2): 343–350.
Vincent A. Lankewish; Blank Spaces, Full of Mourning: Against Compressing, Excerpting, and Anthologizing In Memoriam for Classroom Use. Pedagogy 1 April 2017; 17 (2): 343–350. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/15314200-3770229
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