Alfred Lord Tennyson

The Idylls Of The King
  • The Idylls Of The King

  • A BBC Radio 3 adaptation by Michael Symmons of Alfred Lord Tennyson's ‘The Idylls of the King’, narrated by Tim Pigott-Smith and broadcast on 12 July 2009 to mark the bicentenary of the poet's birth. In this extraordinary epic poem, Tennyson transforms Malory's ‘Le Morte d'Arthur’, infusing the legend of King Arthur with a passionate intensity. Told here in five acts, the central arc of the narrative encompasses Arthur's arrival, his relationship with Lancelot and Guinevere, the Holy Grail, the last tournament and his death. Features Tim Pigott-Smith as Narrator/Tennyson, Jonathan Keeble as King Arthur, Simon Harrison as Lancelot and Kathryn Hunt as Guinevere. Also stars Malcolm Raeburn, Terence Mann, Tom Ferguson, Russell Dixon and Elen Rhys.

Alfred Lord Tennyson was born in 1809 at Somersby, Lincolnshire, the sixth of eleven children of a clergyman. His first important book, Poems, Chiefly Lyrical, was published in 1830, and was not a critical success, but his two volumes of Poems, 1842, which contain some of his finest work, established him as the leading poet of his generation. T. S. Eliot wrote of Tennyson: ‘He has three qualities which are seldom found together except in the greatest poets: abundance, variety and complete competence. He had the finest ear of any English poet since Milton.’ After a short illness Tennyson died in 1892 and was buried in Westminster Abbey. Christopher Ricks is Warren Professor of the Humanities, and Co-director of the Editorial Institute, at Boston University. He is the author of Milton’s Grand Style (1963), Tennyson (second edition, 1989). He is also the editor of The Poems of Tennyson (second edition, 1987), The New Oxford Book of Victorian Verse (1987), A. E. Housman: Collected Poems and Selected Prose (1988), Inventions of the March Hare: Poems 1909–1917 by T. S. Eliot (1996), The Oxford Book of English Verse (1999), and Selected Poems of James Henry (2002).


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