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Conwest Final - Akber Malik Conversations of the West...

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Akber Malik Conversations of the West: Antiquity and the 19 th Century David Levene Katharina Piechocki Final Examination Part A, Question 1 Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem entitled “Palace of Art” describes an allegorical house (rather, a “pleasure house”) that the speaker, not necessarily Tennyson, has built for his soul. The house is extremely extravagant; Tennyson describes in great detail the different aspects of the house including cloisters, lawns, fountains, tapestries, sculptures, and more. Each section of the lengthy poem covers one of these features of the house, until we reach the given excerpt, which features the Soul actually personified and speaking. At this point in the poem we become more certain about the point Tennyson is attempting to make in this poem; he is trying to argue against the selfish enjoyment of material things, especially at the expense of others, and his use of allegory, though blatant, is thoroughly convincing. It is important to remember that Tennyson was a poet of Victorian England. During this period in England’s history, the nation underwent rapid industrialization, urbanization, and immigration. Thousands were flocking to cities for factory jobs that paid very little, and child labor and workhouses were commonplace. Along with the urbanization came disease and crime. So many people were suffering while those
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