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Conflict (Edexcel Poetry Anthology)

8. Alfred Lord Tennyson, The Charge of the Light Brigade (1854)

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About this Lecture

Lecture

In this module, we read through Alfred Lord Tennyson’s ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’, focusing in particular on: (i) the historical context for the poem – the Charge of the Light Brigade at the 1854 Battle of Balaclava; and (ii) the poem’s ambivalence towards the supposed ‘glory’ of warfare (“Someone had blundered”).

Course

In this course, Professor John McRae (University of Nottingham) explores the fifteen poems that make up the ‘Conflict’ cluster for GCSE English Literature (Edexcel). Each poem is read in full, with a short commentary highlighting aspects of language, style, themes, motif, and so on. In the case of Blake’s ‘A Poison Tree’, for example, we think about the concepts of innocence and experience and the symbolism of the apple. When we come to Byron’s ‘The Destruction of Sennacherib’, we focus on the figure of Sennacherib and the rhythm of the poem. And so on for the rest of the collection.

The poems discussed in this course are:
1. William Blake, A Poison Tree (1794)
2. Lord Byron, The Destruction of Sennacherib (1815)
3. William Wordsworth, The Prelude: Stealing the Boat (1798-1850)
4. Thomas Hardy, The Man He Killed (1902)
5. Christina Rossetti, Cousin Kate (1862)
6. John Agard, Half-Caste (2005)
7. Wilfred Owen, Exposure (1917)
8. Alfred Lord Tennyson, The Charge of the Light Brigade (1854)
9. Gillian Clarke, Catrin (1978)
10. Carole Satyamurti, War Photographer (1987)
11. Ciaran Carson, Belfast Confetti (1989)
12. Mary Casey, The Class Game (1979)
13. Jane Weir, Poppies (2009)
14. Benjamin Zephaniah, No Problem (1996)
15. Denise Levertov, What Were They Like? (1967)

Lecturer

John McRae is Special Professor of Language in Literature Studies and Teaching Associate in the School of English at Nottingham University, and holds Visiting Professorships in China, Malaysia, Spain and the USA. He is co-author of The Routledge History of Literature in English with Ron Carter, and also wrote The Language of Poetry, Literature with a Small 'l' and the first critical edition of Teleny by Oscar Wilde and others.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

McRae, J. (2019, March 06). Conflict (Edexcel Poetry Anthology) - Alfred Lord Tennyson, The Charge of the Light Brigade (1854) [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/conflict-edexcel-poetry-anthology/alfred-lord-tennyson-the-charge-of-the-light-brigade-1854-73418445-feb9-42d3-8fb1-48ee5b6c5cf3

MLA style

McRae, J. "Conflict (Edexcel Poetry Anthology) – Alfred Lord Tennyson, The Charge of the Light Brigade (1854)." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 06 Mar 2019, https://www.massolit.io/courses/conflict-edexcel-poetry-anthology/alfred-lord-tennyson-the-charge-of-the-light-brigade-1854-73418445-feb9-42d3-8fb1-48ee5b6c5cf3

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