The Conflict Of Art And Life In Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s “The Lady Of Shalott”

Török, Petra
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To conclude, the conflict between life and art as a theme is a central feature of Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem titled “The Lady of Shalott” (1832). This thesis examined different parts of the poem to support the exploration of the conflict between life and art both in Tennyson’s poetry and in his life, by investigating and identifying the complexity of the relationship. Firstly, I introduced the Victorian poetry and explored some general but essential characteristics about Tennyson’s works and about the relation between art and life and their influence on the poet. This phase was followed by presenting the Arthurian setting of the poem which was a popular context in Tennyson’s poetry. I elaborated the motif of isolation in the poem and investigated it from different points of views, on the one hand, from the perspective of women and woman artists and, on the other hand, from the angle of the poet’s isolating himself from the outside world to be able to create acknowledged artefacts. In chapter 4, I examined the two settings where the story of the poem took place, the town of Camelot and the island of Shalott, as representatives of life and art, Camelot being a space of activity and the island of Shalott embodying passivity. Finally, I investigated three paintings by three different artists who illustrated “The Lady of Shalott” from their perspectives and examined how these three painters represented the aspect of the relation between life and art in their paintings.
conflict, life, art, tennyson, lady, shalott, artist, women, men, painting, isolation, arthurian, victorian