1866 · [Freshwater, Isle of Wight]
by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
[Freshwater, Isle of Wight]: by the author, 1866. original. Matted. Very Good +. matted engraving of the poet. Original Autograph Letter Signed as "A. Tennyson" (1809-1892) on personal stationery with embossed lettering (upper right), penned in brown ink, in which the Poet Laureat replies to Mr. Hackett that he has mislaid a [book contract (?)] but accepts as valid the copy that his correspondent has provided. Matted original ALS with a fine engraving of Tennyson, with a copy of the signature by the poet on verso, and a printed label identifying the poet, his famous work "The Charge of the Light Brigade," & information about his son Hallam.With embossed lettering (upper right) of "Freshwater" [?]--his mansion on the Isle of Wight--and writing that he has loosely penned in brown ink. Scarce: A reluctant correspondent, Tennyson hated the writing of letters. Futhermore, his most important correspondence with Arthur Hallam was destroyed. This letter appears to have been written to a publisher--possibly relating to his recent work Enoch Arden and Other Poems (1862/1864). In April, 1862, near the time Enoch Arden had been published, the Laureate met widowed Queen Victoria. She thus described him in her diary, "very peculiar looking, tall, dark, with a fine head, long black flowing hair & a beard, â oddly dressed, but there is no affectation about him."In Tennyson's tragic poem Enoch Arden written in 1862 and soon republished in 1864, Enoch Arden, the protagonist was a fisherman who had lost his job due to an accident. When his old captain offered him his old job as a merchant sailor, Enoch manfully left his wife and children to earn a living that would better support them. Tragically, however, Enoch became shipwrecked on a desert island like Robinson Crusoe After his two companions die, he became isolated for more than a decade. Eventually, he managed to return to his wife but found that she--believing him dead--had happily remarried an old mutual friend and rival by whom she had a child. Though his life was now ruined, because Enoch loved his wife too much to ruin hers by reappearing and complicating matters, so he dies broken hearted.Very near the time of this letter in 1866, Tennyson--who had been made Poet Laureate in 1850 through the influence of Prince Albert--had recently turned down a baronetcy offered to him by Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. (He would later accept one from Gladstone.).
(Inventory #: 267)