chapter  II
160 Pages

The Victorians

The Victorian age saw in the very scientific, technological and intellectual advances that brought hope of bettering the human condition a darker side, an undermining of faith (expressed so well in Arnold's poem "Dover Beach") and a possibility of exploitation that called into question the notion of progress. This duality, which lasts even to the present day, helps to explain the popularity of Arthurian material among modem poets. The Arthurian world, like the modem world, has great potential for improving the human condition; but it seems that such an ideal is always frustrated by the failings and imperfections that are inherent in the world and those who inhabit it. Tennyson captures this duality and expresses it in a form perfectly suited to it.