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The Lady of Shalott is the third book in Visions in Poetry, an award-winning series of classic poems illustrated by outstanding contemporary artists in stunning hardcover editions. Tennyson's beautiful and enigmatic poem of unrequited love, set in Arthurian England, has enthralled artists for well over a century. With her luminous illustrations, Geneviève Côté weaves a ref The Lady of Shalott is the third book in Visions in Poetry, an award-winning series of classic poems illustrated by outstanding contemporary artists in stunning hardcover editions. Tennyson's beautiful and enigmatic poem of unrequited love, set in Arthurian England, has enthralled artists for well over a century. With her luminous illustrations, Geneviève Côté weaves a refreshingly modern interpretation of this beloved poem --- one that will enchant readers of all ages.


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The Lady of Shalott is the third book in Visions in Poetry, an award-winning series of classic poems illustrated by outstanding contemporary artists in stunning hardcover editions. Tennyson's beautiful and enigmatic poem of unrequited love, set in Arthurian England, has enthralled artists for well over a century. With her luminous illustrations, Geneviève Côté weaves a ref The Lady of Shalott is the third book in Visions in Poetry, an award-winning series of classic poems illustrated by outstanding contemporary artists in stunning hardcover editions. Tennyson's beautiful and enigmatic poem of unrequited love, set in Arthurian England, has enthralled artists for well over a century. With her luminous illustrations, Geneviève Côté weaves a refreshingly modern interpretation of this beloved poem --- one that will enchant readers of all ages.

30 review for The Lady of Shalott (Visions in Poetry)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sean Barrs

    This poem is one of the first I ever read, and is a true pleasure to read aloud. Go on, give it a try! But, perhaps only do so when nobody else is in the house, to save embarrassment. The Lady of Shallot is a lonely figure; she is isolated form the world and stuck up in a tower. She can only look out and admire the world that she cannot touch and cannot take part in. The world is separated from her by the height of the tower and the river moat that surrounds it, it constantly reminds her that she This poem is one of the first I ever read, and is a true pleasure to read aloud. Go on, give it a try! But, perhaps only do so when nobody else is in the house, to save embarrassment. The Lady of Shallot is a lonely figure; she is isolated form the world and stuck up in a tower. She can only look out and admire the world that she cannot touch and cannot take part in. The world is separated from her by the height of the tower and the river moat that surrounds it, it constantly reminds her that she is completely and utterly alone in this world. This is emphasised by the fact that the reader isn’t privy to her thoughts and emotions; she is a distant figure within the poem, which makes her remoteness felt by the reader in the poem’s lovely lyrical tones. It is no wonder then, that when the glorious Sir Lancelot starts prancing about in a majestic manner, that she is taken by him. He represents the so called glory days of England; he is splendid and noble. He is a mirror of the Arthurian myth and the wonders of Camelot. The Lady has been completely seduced by the teasing reflections in her mirror, and she can no longer resist the temptation to go to him. She’s never seen such a wonderful man from the dimness of her tower window. She tosses down her spinning and rushes to him. She abandons her mirror and seclusion. But, she was cursed, and ultimately caused her own death. She knew she couldn’t leave the tower, but did so anyway. To my mind, this is a reflection of the women of the Victorian age; they were restricted and confined like the Lady. An attempt to break those restrictions would lead in destruction because society, for women, was oppressive and controlling. Women, apparently, were supposed to know their place. Perhaps, the poem is a suggestion of what happens to women who try to break their chains. I think this can be seen in both a positive and negative light. Positive in that it’s a metaphor for women’s place in society (intent of showing injustice), and negative in that it shows what happens to women who disobey so to be shown as a warning. Under tower and balcony, By garden wall and gallery, A pale, pale corpse she floated by, Deadcold, between the houses high, Dead into tower'd Camelot. Knight and burgher, lord and dame, To the planked wharfage came: Below the stern they read her name, The Lady of Shalott.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lynne King

    Update - Covid-19 - 14 April 2020” In a way I was pleased that last night President Macron decided to extend the "lockdown" for an additional four weeks. If it will save lives that is the main thing but the other disturbing fact is how many people at the end of this long journey are going to cope both financially and mentally? So in my temporary period of gloom I thought of this beautiful poem but so apt today. Scroll down and you will see it in the text here: This suits my current frame of mind be Update - Covid-19 - 14 April 2020” In a way I was pleased that last night President Macron decided to extend the "lockdown" for an additional four weeks. If it will save lives that is the main thing but the other disturbing fact is how many people at the end of this long journey are going to cope both financially and mentally? So in my temporary period of gloom I thought of this beautiful poem but so apt today. Scroll down and you will see it in the text here: This suits my current frame of mind beautifully. An absolutely splendid work. That's all I need to say. I read it years ago but now it seems to have had more of a profound impact on me for some obscure reason. It's short but one can really savour all the nuances. I especially liked: "She left the web, she left the loom, She made three paces through the room, She saw the water-lily bloom, She saw the helmet and the plume, She look'd down to Camelot. Out flew the web and floated wide; The mirror crack'd from side to side; "The curse is come upon me," cried The Lady of Shalott.” Exquisite.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Terrington

    Alongside Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven, Alfred Tennyson's The Lady of Shalott stands as one of the more fascinating works of poetry from the 1800s. Aesthetically it is a work of great and simply beauty, therefore providing evidence that language in a poetic simplicity can provide some of the greatest and most beautiful ideas and images. After all, in the Bible, the splendour of light was released with 'Let there be light.' The poem appears simple on the outside, with a nice flowing rhythm, reinfor Alongside Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven, Alfred Tennyson's The Lady of Shalott stands as one of the more fascinating works of poetry from the 1800s. Aesthetically it is a work of great and simply beauty, therefore providing evidence that language in a poetic simplicity can provide some of the greatest and most beautiful ideas and images. After all, in the Bible, the splendour of light was released with 'Let there be light.' The poem appears simple on the outside, with a nice flowing rhythm, reinforced by the repetitious aaaabcccb structure and the use of the word Shalott to close almost each stanza. Yet the poem is far more complex than its language may suggest. There are hints of various critiques and subversions of traditional love narratives buried in Tennyson's work and as such The Lady of Shalott becomes another fantasy tale that reflects on reality. The narrative, essentially describing how one Lady of Shalott, trapped in a tower, is forced to view the world of Camelot through a mirror, lest she succumb to a curse. Eventually she does turn from the mirror to look down at the glittering, gem covered Lancelot, the poem's ultimate symbol of masculinity (and virility). As a result her mirror and artistry break, signs that her curse has fallen upon her. As a result, she leaves her tower in a boat and floats down to Camelot, only to arrive dead and drained of blood. Where only Lancelot is considerate enough to look upon her and comment that: "She has a lovely face; God in his mercy lend her grace, The Lady of Shalott." Many critics have suggested that The Lady of the poem is the perfect symbol for how Victorian women were expected to behave, therefore making of this poem a feminist critique. The sense pervades the poem that when the Lady looks down at her possible lover, the beautified Lancelot, it is because she is a woman and therefore supposedly given into the irrational. The very idea that this woman has to be kept hidden in a tower, concealed away from society (and perhaps from exploring her sexuality) is in itself a unique critique. Therefore, it is possible that Tennyson intended the poem to criticise the idea that women were meant to be seen and not heard; objects of beauty but not of necessarily logical capacity. The fact that Tennyson was Poet Laureate for the Queen leads one to consider the strong indications that this poem was intended to be political in nature. Another angle to observe this poem from is the perspective of the poem as a subversion of the classic fairytale knight quest. Considering the way in which Tennyson uses Arthurian myth and legend in the poem this again seems like another way in which Tennyson perhaps criticises romantic love in relation to male and female dynamics. There is the sense that Tennyson condemns the romantic idea of the gallant chivalrous knight rescuing the damsel in distress, for in his narrative the knights do not come to rescue the damsel and instead the damsel must leave her tower for the knight, resulting in her death. This could be seen as an indication that Tennyson believes that there are no happy ever afters and that chivalry is a naive idea of the past (particular when one connects the poem to the reality of the industrialised age Tennyson lived in). Or, one could read it as a condemnation of women being forced to become independent and rely upon their own strength, that essentially without a knight to rescue them a woman will die from a curse. One of the motifs in the poem is the use of ethereal, dreamlike constructs. Mirrors and shadows in particular feature heavily in the poem, from the mirror the Lady is forced to observe the world through. A mirror which could be seen as a symbol for the social constraints obscuring that which can be truly seen. Then again, how the Lady weaves what she sees in the mirror into a web of tapestry could be viewed as a criticism of how the artist performs their work. A particularly poignant idea when connected to the nature of Tennyson being Poet Laureate. "'I am half sick of shadows,' said The Lady of Shalott." Whatever way you choose to read this poem it is a fascinating work (as is most of Tennyson's work). And in some senses it is a danger to read too much into the poem for fear of ignoring the sheer aesthetic beauty of it. Indeed Tennyson is a poet who understands how to capture musicality with words and as such his work should be read by anyone interested in literature.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sawsan

    A lovely poem with different interpretations Tennyson’s poem tells a story of a woman who lived isolated in a tower on an island called Shalott, suffered from a curse forced her not to look at reality, she is only allowed to see the outside world through its reflection in a mirror, one day she glimpsed the reflected image of a handsome knight, and cannot resist looking at him directly, the mirror cracked and the curse came upon her Who is this? and what is here? And in the lighted palace near Died t A lovely poem with different interpretations Tennyson’s poem tells a story of a woman who lived isolated in a tower on an island called Shalott, suffered from a curse forced her not to look at reality, she is only allowed to see the outside world through its reflection in a mirror, one day she glimpsed the reflected image of a handsome knight, and cannot resist looking at him directly, the mirror cracked and the curse came upon her Who is this? and what is here? And in the lighted palace near Died the sound of royal cheer And they cross’d themselves for fear All the knights at Camelot But Lancelot mused a little space He said “She has a lovely face God in his mercy lend her grace, The Lady of Shalott.”

  5. 5 out of 5

    Helga

    She left the web, she left the loom She made three paces thro' the room She saw the water-flower bloom, She saw the helmet and the plume, She look'd down to Camelot. Out flew the web and floated wide; The mirror crack'd from side to side; 'The curse is come upon me,' cried The Lady of Shalott. The Lady of Shalott is a sad and haunting poem about a noblewoman imprisoned in a tower who is cursed and sees the real world only through a mirror. She left the web, she left the loom She made three paces thro' the room She saw the water-flower bloom, She saw the helmet and the plume, She look'd down to Camelot. Out flew the web and floated wide; The mirror crack'd from side to side; 'The curse is come upon me,' cried The Lady of Shalott. The Lady of Shalott is a sad and haunting poem about a noblewoman imprisoned in a tower who is cursed and sees the real world only through a mirror.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Duane

    Many people, I dare say most, will claim to not like poetry, but this is one of those poems that I believe everyone can read and enjoy. The enchantment of the rhythm and rhyme of Tennyson's words, the hint of romance and the allusion to magic, all combine to make this poem a memorable pleasure. Tennyson actually wrote two versions of this poem ten years apart (1832-1842). The later one is one verse shorter than the first, both very similar, both very good. Many people, I dare say most, will claim to not like poetry, but this is one of those poems that I believe everyone can read and enjoy. The enchantment of the rhythm and rhyme of Tennyson's words, the hint of romance and the allusion to magic, all combine to make this poem a memorable pleasure. Tennyson actually wrote two versions of this poem ten years apart (1832-1842). The later one is one verse shorter than the first, both very similar, both very good.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Manny

    There's a nice moment in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie which references this poem. They're reading it in class, and they've just reached the lineAnd round about the prow she wrote: 'The Lady of Shalott'.The schoolgirl, daydreaming and only half paying attention, imagines herself talking with Tennyson's eponymous heroine. "What did you write it with?" she asks. "I found a pot of paint on the bank," replies the Lady. "It had probably been left there by one of the Unemployed." There's a nice moment in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie which references this poem. They're reading it in class, and they've just reached the lineAnd round about the prow she wrote: 'The Lady of Shalott'.The schoolgirl, daydreaming and only half paying attention, imagines herself talking with Tennyson's eponymous heroine. "What did you write it with?" she asks. "I found a pot of paint on the bank," replies the Lady. "It had probably been left there by one of the Unemployed."

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    My favorite poem. Even after all these years, it still gets to me. It is long, but worth it, I feel. I beg of you to read past the Romantic descriptions of nature and the older English to what's really in there: On either side the river lie Long fields of barley and of rye, That clothe the wold and meet the sky; And through the field the road run by To many-tower'd Camelot; And up and down the people go, Gazing where the lilies blow Round an island there below, The island of Shalott. Willows whit My favorite poem. Even after all these years, it still gets to me. It is long, but worth it, I feel. I beg of you to read past the Romantic descriptions of nature and the older English to what's really in there: On either side the river lie Long fields of barley and of rye, That clothe the wold and meet the sky; And through the field the road run by To many-tower'd Camelot; And up and down the people go, Gazing where the lilies blow Round an island there below, The island of Shalott. Willows whiten, aspens quiver, Little breezes dusk and shiver Through the wave that runs for ever By the island in the river Flowing down to Camelot. Four grey walls, and four grey towers, Overlook a space of flowers, And the silent isle imbowers The Lady of Shalott. By the margin, willow veil'd, Slide the heavy barges trail'd By slow horses; and unhail'd The shallop flitteth silken-sail'd Skimming down to Camelot: But who hath seen her wave her hand? Or at the casement seen her stand? Or is she known in all the land, The Lady of Shalott? Only reapers, reaping early, In among the bearded barley Hear a song that echoes cheerly From the river winding clearly; Down to tower'd Camelot; And by the moon the reaper weary, Piling sheaves in uplands airy, Listening, whispers, " 'Tis the fairy The Lady of Shalott." There she weaves by night and day A magic web with colours gay. She has heard a whisper say, A curse is on her if she stay To look down to Camelot. She knows not what the curse may be, And so she weaveth steadily, And little other care hath she, The Lady of Shalott. And moving through a mirror clear That hangs before her all the year, Shadows of the world appear. There she sees the highway near Winding down to Camelot; There the river eddy whirls, And there the surly village churls, And the red cloaks of market girls Pass onward from Shalott. Sometimes a troop of damsels glad, An abbot on an ambling pad, Sometimes a curly shepherd lad, Or long-hair'd page in crimson clad Goes by to tower'd Camelot; And sometimes through the mirror blue The knights come riding two and two. She hath no loyal Knight and true, The Lady of Shalott. But in her web she still delights To weave the mirror's magic sights, For often through the silent nights A funeral, with plumes and lights And music, went to Camelot; Or when the Moon was overhead, Came two young lovers lately wed. "I am half sick of shadows," said The Lady of Shalott. A bow-shot from her bower-eaves, He rode between the barley sheaves, The sun came dazzling thro' the leaves, And flamed upon the brazen greaves Of bold Sir Lancelot. A red-cross knight for ever kneel'd To a lady in his shield, That sparkled on the yellow field, Beside remote Shalott. The gemmy bridle glitter'd free, Like to some branch of stars we see Hung in the golden Galaxy. The bridle bells rang merrily As he rode down to Camelot: And from his blazon'd baldric slung A mighty silver bugle hung, And as he rode his armor rung Beside remote Shalott. All in the blue unclouded weather Thick-jewell'd shone the saddle-leather, The helmet and the helmet-feather Burn'd like one burning flame together, As he rode down to Camelot. As often thro' the purple night, Below the starry clusters bright, Some bearded meteor, burning bright, Moves over still Shalott. His broad clear brow in sunlight glow'd; On burnish'd hooves his war-horse trode; From underneath his helmet flow'd His coal-black curls as on he rode, As he rode down to Camelot. From the bank and from the river He flashed into the crystal mirror, "Tirra lirra," by the river Sang Sir Lancelot. She left the web, she left the loom, She made three paces through the room, She saw the water-lily bloom, She saw the helmet and the plume, She look'd down to Camelot. Out flew the web and floated wide; The mirror crack'd from side to side; "The curse is come upon me," cried The Lady of Shalott. In the stormy east-wind straining, The pale yellow woods were waning, The broad stream in his banks complaining. Heavily the low sky raining Over tower'd Camelot; Down she came and found a boat Beneath a willow left afloat, And around about the prow she wrote The Lady of Shalott. And down the river's dim expanse Like some bold seer in a trance, Seeing all his own mischance -- With a glassy countenance Did she look to Camelot. And at the closing of the day She loosed the chain, and down she lay; The broad stream bore her far away, The Lady of Shalott. Lying, robed in snowy white That loosely flew to left and right -- The leaves upon her falling light -- Thro' the noises of the night, She floated down to Camelot: And as the boat-head wound along The willowy hills and fields among, They heard her singing her last song, The Lady of Shalott. Heard a carol, mournful, holy, Chanted loudly, chanted lowly, Till her blood was frozen slowly, And her eyes were darkened wholly, Turn'd to tower'd Camelot. For ere she reach'd upon the tide The first house by the water-side, Singing in her song she died, The Lady of Shalott. Under tower and balcony, By garden-wall and gallery, A gleaming shape she floated by, Dead-pale between the houses high, Silent into Camelot. Out upon the wharfs they came, Knight and Burgher, Lord and Dame, And around the prow they read her name, The Lady of Shalott. Who is this? And what is here? And in the lighted palace near Died the sound of royal cheer; And they crossed themselves for fear, All the Knights at Camelot; But Lancelot mused a little space He said, "She has a lovely face; God in his mercy lent her grace, The Lady of Shalott." My favorite verse is this one: "But in her web she still delights To weave the mirror's magic sights, For often through the silent nights A funeral, with plumes and lights And music, went to Camelot; Or when the Moon was overhead, Came two young lovers lately wed. "I am half sick of shadows," said The Lady of Shalott."

  9. 5 out of 5

    James

    This is the only Tennyson that I have ever read and I really enjoyed it. I would definitely be interested in reading more Tennyson - any recommendations would be very welcome.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Fred

    I had to read this book today for work purposes. Oh my God, I loved it so much! I would recommend knowing the plot BEFORE reading it! That really helps with Tennyson or any form of ballad, I think. In the space of about a day, I fell in love with a poem. Who knew what joys work could bring!!! I initially gave this five stars because I loved the experience but as a poem, it can get quite forgettable after a while and I was having doubts so I took this down to four stars.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Liz Janet

    This story is loosely based on the tale of Elaine of Astolat, and of her love for Lancelot, which in this poem brings upon her a curse that leaves her dead. Arthurian legends defined my childhood, so it is only basic that such a poem would mark me. The Lady cannot look upon the people, so she stares through a mirror at the road and sees Lancelot, and falls in love with him, her desire to go after him, but most importantly break free, dooms her. "Under tower and balcony, By garden wall and gallery This story is loosely based on the tale of Elaine of Astolat, and of her love for Lancelot, which in this poem brings upon her a curse that leaves her dead. Arthurian legends defined my childhood, so it is only basic that such a poem would mark me. The Lady cannot look upon the people, so she stares through a mirror at the road and sees Lancelot, and falls in love with him, her desire to go after him, but most importantly break free, dooms her. "Under tower and balcony, By garden wall and gallery, A pale, pale corpse she floated by, Deadcold, between the houses high, Dead into tower'd Camelot. Knight and burgher, lord and dame, To the planked wharfage came: Below the stern they read her name, The Lady of Shalott." This poem has been so influential in society that just for simple reference: In other literature it is referred, in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark, where Miss Jean Brodie reads the poem to her class. Alice Munro refers to some of the lines of this ballad in her short story "Save the Reaper" ("Only the reapers, reaping early", and "And by the moon the reaper weary"). It was also one of the few things I enjoyed in Avalon High, where at the beginning of every chapter there is a stanza from this. In music I am not so well versed, but there is a lovely piano piece called "La dame de Shalotte", by Olivier Messiaen.(Also do we not get a vibe of this poem in the Band Perry's song "If I Die Young", because I kind of do.) This is such a beautiful poem, and I cannot recommend it enough.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mira

    Mysterious, full of life, beauty, colors, and of passion: The Lady of Shalott is one of the most beautiful poems I've ever read. The skilful hands of painter John William Waterhouse -through his collection of paintings illustrating this tale- were the first to make me acquainted with the poem, and then there was Loreena Mckennitt's wonderful lyrical cover of the ballad. Thus the myth of The Lady of Shalott combines my favourite three forms of sublime art: poetry, music, and painting. The descrip Mysterious, full of life, beauty, colors, and of passion: The Lady of Shalott is one of the most beautiful poems I've ever read. The skilful hands of painter John William Waterhouse -through his collection of paintings illustrating this tale- were the first to make me acquainted with the poem, and then there was Loreena Mckennitt's wonderful lyrical cover of the ballad. Thus the myth of The Lady of Shalott combines my favourite three forms of sublime art: poetry, music, and painting. The description of Sir Lancelot in the following stanza is breathtaking: His broad clear brow in sunlight glow'd; On burnish'd hooves his war-horse trode; From underneath his helmet flow'd His coal-black curls as on he rode, As he rode down to Camelot. From the bank and from the river He flashed into the crystal mirror, "Tirra lirra," by the river Sang Sir Lancelot. Tirra lirra... This is simply pure perfection.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    “She left the web, she left the loom, She made three paces through the room, She saw the water-lily bloom, She saw the helmet and the plume, She look'd down to Camelot. Out flew the web and floated wide; The mirror crack'd from side to side; "The curse is come upon me," cried The Lady of Shalott.” “She left the web, she left the loom, She made three paces through the room, She saw the water-lily bloom, She saw the helmet and the plume, She look'd down to Camelot. Out flew the web and floated wide; The mirror crack'd from side to side; "The curse is come upon me," cried The Lady of Shalott.”

  14. 4 out of 5

    Huda AbuKhoti

    This poem has left me with a calm melancholy. Beauty, art, deprivation, infatuation, and a tragic liberating ending, it has it all. I read the scanned papers of a beautiful edition by Mead Dodd with splendid illustrations, published in 1881. It elevated the poetry to a whole different level. This ballad, in my opinion deals with human nature, its needs and longings. The Lady of Shalott is a woman who's under a curse that she knows nothing about its cause. Forced to see the world in a two dimensi This poem has left me with a calm melancholy. Beauty, art, deprivation, infatuation, and a tragic liberating ending, it has it all. I read the scanned papers of a beautiful edition by Mead Dodd with splendid illustrations, published in 1881. It elevated the poetry to a whole different level. This ballad, in my opinion deals with human nature, its needs and longings. The Lady of Shalott is a woman who's under a curse that she knows nothing about its cause. Forced to see the world in a two dimensional form through a mirror, deprived from living a normal life like everyone else and lives in a dark shadowy castle. She ignores that at first by distracting herself as she weaves a tapestry picture of the reflections she sees in the mirror. Then, sparks of jealousy and dissatisfaction arise as she compares her dull life with the lives of the villagers. It reaches a point where love comes in, when a dazzling knight enchants her soul with his singing, she can no longer bear her imprisoned will and looks out to see his face. She only sees his helmet and the feather upon it, though. Knowing her doomed fate, she cares less about anything and leaves the castle. She lives her last moments of liberation as the water of the river drifts her boat and while she's singing her song. Heard a carol, mournful, holy Chanted loudly, chanted lowly, Till her blood was frozen slowly, And her eyes were darkened wholly, Turned to tower'd Camelot. For ere she reach'd upon the tide The Lady of Shalott The first house by the water-side, Singing in her song she died, The Lady of Shalott. I think the most saddening part of the poem was the last stanza.. All the villagers who she was jealous of and the knight who leaded her somehow to her tragic death didn't even know about her existence and all their commentaries on her death were cold and shallow. Who is this? and what is here? And in the lighted palace near Died the sound of royal cheer; And they cross'd themselves for fear, All the knights at Camelot: But Lancelot mused a little space; He said, "She has a lovely face; God in His mercy lend her grace, The Lady of Shalott."

  15. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    I am fan of illustrated books and discovered here on good reads Tennyson's great poem, "The Lady of Shalott," with illustrations by Genevieve Cote, who was captured and inspired by "its universal themes of love and death and its ideas about women and art."(1) I found the artwork modern and complimentary to a Victorian classic that has become synonymous with the legend of King Arthur. It is a small, beautiful book that can be enjoyed by all ages. Tennyson wrote two versions of "The Lady of Shalot I am fan of illustrated books and discovered here on good reads Tennyson's great poem, "The Lady of Shalott," with illustrations by Genevieve Cote, who was captured and inspired by "its universal themes of love and death and its ideas about women and art."(1) I found the artwork modern and complimentary to a Victorian classic that has become synonymous with the legend of King Arthur. It is a small, beautiful book that can be enjoyed by all ages. Tennyson wrote two versions of "The Lady of Shalott." The first version in 1832 when he was only 22 years old, and the second version in 1842. Wikipedia states the latter version "was designed to match Victorian morals regarding gender norms and the act of suicide."(2) Not wholly accurate, but perhaps a polite way of saying the poem came under criticism. A more fascinating reason -- and a more likely one -- Tennyson revised his poem is he was troubled by a disparaging article published by an Irish statesman. He later removed the stanza deemed offensive and published his new version in 1842.(3) The Lady of Shalott says she is cursed. When I was in high school when a young lady said, "I got the curse," that translated to "I got my period." Was the Lady of Shalott cursed because she was a woman? Cursed because she was an artist? Or cursed because she was insane? ...Yorkshire folklore dictates: that sick people should never look at themselves in a mirror. If they do, their souls may take flight from their weak bodies by being projected into the mirror, and this can cause their death.(4) Although the reverse is true in the poem, The Lady of Shalott is allowed to view the outside world only in a mirror's reflection. If she chances to look at the world, reality, straight forward, it will be her end. She must contain her desire and will power not to look. Did the Lady of Shalott finally give in to her desire, knowing it would be the end? Otherwise, except by the medical community, suicide was dealt with mainly through displacement. The more powerful liked to think of self-destruction as the appropriate refuge or punishment for the seemingly weaker, even when evidence suggested the contrary. Middle-class men, in particular, tended to make suicide the province of other selves — of men belonging to other times or places, of make-believe monsters, or of women.(5)[emphasis mine] Suicide remained illegal in England until 1961. However, it was in 1823 (a decade before Tennyson wrote his poem) that suicide law was altered to allow burials in Church graveyards. Prior to 1823, those who died by suicide were relegated to burial at the "crossroads." ... They would be the last such watchdogs ever needed, for Griffiths was the last London suicide known to have been buried at a cross-roads. Glaring legal inequities, like those apparent in the Londonderry and Griffiths cases, were to come to an end in mid-1823, with the passage of 4 George IV.c 52. This law made it illegal for coroners to issue a warrant for burial of a felo-de-se in a public highway. Within twenty four hours of the inquest, the suicide was to be interred in a churchyard or public burial place. Superstitions and the desire to punish self-murderers remained, however. Suicides had been buried at cross-roads because these were signs of the cross; because steady traffic over the suicide's grave could help keep the person's ghost down; and because ancient sacrificial victims had been slain at such sites. Since they were considered the ultimate sinners, suicides had been staked to prevent their restless wanderings as lost souls. If life was a gift from God, the taking of it was God's prerogative only. This latter belief died hard, and the 1823 law contained punitive clauses. A felo-de-se must still be buried without Christian rites and at night, between the hours of nine and midnight, and his/her goods and chattels must still be turned over to the Crown.(6)[emphasis mine] Tennyson's lyrical poem, "The Lady of Shalott" has captured the hearts and minds of many artists, painters, and song writers throughout the years. John William Waterhouse painted his version of Lady of Shalott in 1888. And this later version in 1915. Wikipedia, The Lady of Shalott painting William Holman Hunt painting, 1905. Wikipedia, William Holman Hunt Loreena McKennitt, Canadian musician, composer, harpist, accordionist, and pianist, put music to Tennyson's words on her 1992 album, "The Visit." You can read both versions of "The Lady of Shalott" online since they are free of copyright and now belong in the public domain. The Lady of Shalott 1832 The Lady of Shalott 1842 References: (1)The Lady of Shalott goodreads (2) wiki, The Lady of Shalott (3) "An Introduction to the Lady of Shalott" by Stephanie Forward (4), (5), (6)"Victorian Suicide, Mad Crimes and Sad Histories," by Barbara T. Gates, Alumni Distinguished Professor of English, University of Delaware Loreena McKennitt - The Lady of Shalott Live

  16. 5 out of 5

    Prashant

    The entire poem is given in the description and I just read it twice. Here is the tragedy of love. The tragedy of weaving your world the way you expect it to be. The desire to risk everything you have for the want of that fleeting moment. The curse of seeing the world through something else then your own eyes. The mark on your possessions so that everyone would know who you were when you are gone. The fatal nature of the very thing that you always wanted to have the most. The recognition gained b The entire poem is given in the description and I just read it twice. Here is the tragedy of love. The tragedy of weaving your world the way you expect it to be. The desire to risk everything you have for the want of that fleeting moment. The curse of seeing the world through something else then your own eyes. The mark on your possessions so that everyone would know who you were when you are gone. The fatal nature of the very thing that you always wanted to have the most. The recognition gained by you at your life's expense. And the grace of death. This is a beautiful poem and I am sure I would like to read it again and again in the days to come just to live through it again. Let's see if I gain more.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mir

    I haven't seen this illustrated version, I'll have to find it. For anyone who really likes this poem, I recommend picking up a critical edition such as Ricks' Tennyson, which shows changes the poet made, sometimes even after the original publication. Mostly notably, in earlier versions of the poem the Lady arrives still alive before the knights and makes a declaration before dying; this was later changed to the standard version where she arrives already deceased and "has a lovely face." I haven't seen this illustrated version, I'll have to find it. For anyone who really likes this poem, I recommend picking up a critical edition such as Ricks' Tennyson, which shows changes the poet made, sometimes even after the original publication. Mostly notably, in earlier versions of the poem the Lady arrives still alive before the knights and makes a declaration before dying; this was later changed to the standard version where she arrives already deceased and "has a lovely face."

  18. 4 out of 5

    Katarina

    The quote Van Halen (if I'm allowed) "How do you know when it's love?" Well, with Tennyson is very simple. Read "Ulysses" and you're done. Then you might as well read "The Lady of Shallot", which I did, and now I need an edition that collects all his work. As I said - simple. P.S. "All Things Will Die" is ❤ The quote Van Halen (if I'm allowed) "How do you know when it's love?" Well, with Tennyson is very simple. Read "Ulysses" and you're done. Then you might as well read "The Lady of Shallot", which I did, and now I need an edition that collects all his work. As I said - simple. P.S. "All Things Will Die" is ❤

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mary Eve

    Sometimes poetry hits you with unexpected emotion. One of my favorites, Tennyson never disappoints. If you prefer to listen to a condensed version, may I suggest Loreena McKennit's cover on YouTube. It is hauntingly beautiful. The magic of Camelot is captured here in verse. Sometimes poetry hits you with unexpected emotion. One of my favorites, Tennyson never disappoints. If you prefer to listen to a condensed version, may I suggest Loreena McKennit's cover on YouTube. It is hauntingly beautiful. The magic of Camelot is captured here in verse.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    I'm bored at work and was just messing around goodreads when I happened upon this. Low and behold, the entire poem is in the description. Take a few minutes out of your day and read this beautiful poem. I guarantee you'll want to take a few minutes out of a few more days to read it again. Arthurian legends are so full of adventure and intrigue that they are near irresistible in and of themselves, but turn prose to verse and you suddenly have something else entirely more magical (like one of my o I'm bored at work and was just messing around goodreads when I happened upon this. Low and behold, the entire poem is in the description. Take a few minutes out of your day and read this beautiful poem. I guarantee you'll want to take a few minutes out of a few more days to read it again. Arthurian legends are so full of adventure and intrigue that they are near irresistible in and of themselves, but turn prose to verse and you suddenly have something else entirely more magical (like one of my other favorites, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight). In a world where the Lady of Shalott exists, you could very well expect all manner of fae, cursed woods and witches. Everything about this poem opens the imagination; the poem itself is just one example of multitude other stories to be told about those living along the river leading to Camelot.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dana Al-Basha دانة الباشا

    This is Anne of Green Gables favorite poem!! And it's one of my favorites as well! Willows whiten, aspens shiver. The sunbeam showers break and quiver In the stream that runneth ever By the island in the river Flowing down to Camelot. Four gray walls, and four gray towers Overlook a space of flowers, And the silent isle imbowers The Lady of Shalott. This is Anne of Green Gables favorite poem!! And it's one of my favorites as well! Willows whiten, aspens shiver. The sunbeam showers break and quiver In the stream that runneth ever By the island in the river Flowing down to Camelot. Four gray walls, and four gray towers Overlook a space of flowers, And the silent isle imbowers The Lady of Shalott.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Cami

    I am half sick of shadows," said The Lady of Shalott. Oh my goodness I loved this so much! I haven't read much poetry, but this was stunning. I want to reread it right now. And maybe daily until I've memorized it...Absolutely lovely. I am half sick of shadows," said The Lady of Shalott. Oh my goodness I loved this so much! I haven't read much poetry, but this was stunning. I want to reread it right now. And maybe daily until I've memorized it...Absolutely lovely.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Deborah

    Beautifully written with illustrations depicting a more modern setting. Originally published in 1832, it was revised in 1842. Read aloud to appreciate. A lady is stuck in a tower by Camelot. She breaks free when she sees Sir Lancelot and floats down the river.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Paras2

    this poem is everything I like, myth and a pretty lady, curse and death. and BTW, search for the reading of this poem in YouTube. this woman sang it prettily and also thr video is really soothing.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Choudhury

    Still my favourite poem!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Grace Lynch

    I see why Anne or Green Gables/Avonlea/Prince Edward Island (Canada) was obsessed with this ballad. The Lady of Shalott practically dies, and the poem ceases. Anything “tragical” is very Anne of Green Gables.

  27. 4 out of 5

    María

    4'5 even, omg I'm so sad right now 4'5 even, omg I'm so sad right now

  28. 4 out of 5

    maria.

    3,5 stars.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Pritam Chatterjee

    The poem is an wonderful example of word-painting by the most appropriate successor of Wordsworth to the position of Poet Laureate, Alfred Lord Tennyson. That the poem is the manifestation of the poet's mere fascination of a medieval lore, far away from his immediate world, can be safely snubbed through proper and minute analysis. The poem may be said to bear three principal themes. The first and the most popular is that it states how an artist's vision is shattered by a callous world. The secon The poem is an wonderful example of word-painting by the most appropriate successor of Wordsworth to the position of Poet Laureate, Alfred Lord Tennyson. That the poem is the manifestation of the poet's mere fascination of a medieval lore, far away from his immediate world, can be safely snubbed through proper and minute analysis. The poem may be said to bear three principal themes. The first and the most popular is that it states how an artist's vision is shattered by a callous world. The second is that how the world of dreams fall apart at the face of reality. And finally, it may implicate how a lady's attempt to cross the closed boundaries of womanhood proves decisively fatal for herself.

  30. 4 out of 5

    SarahC

    I want to warn you that if someone offers you the choice of this book or a box of chocolate, you might want to take the book. It is lovely, filled with luminous pastel art, front to back. Seriously the kind of edition you want to tuck under your pillow like you did when you were little. I got it out last night and reread it and just thought I would post it in case some one is looking for a last minute gift for someone. Enjoy.

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