Books: Towering Grandfather

ALFRED TENNYSON (579 pp.)—Charles Tennyson—Macmillan ($7.50).

The story of Tennyson's vast Victorian lifetime is like the story of a civilization in Toynbee: the whole age is embodied in it. Born in 1809, he was descended from the yeomanry and the county families that together bred England's great middle class. The north-country parsonage of his childhood tumbled with ten brothers & sisters; at seven he had to be able to chirp from memory the four books of Horace's Odes.

In his own family were those classic victims of the 19th Century—the father who took to drink and violence, the brother who went mad,...

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