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‘The Banker Poet’
The Rise and Fall of Samuel Rogers, 1763–1855
Martin Blocksidge was Head of English at the Royal Grammar School, Guildford, and Director of Studies at St. Dunstan's College, London, and former President of The English Association. He is now a professional author and his most recent work, 'A Life Lived Quickly' Arthur Hallam and his Legend, was published by Sussex Academic Press in 2011 and described in the Times Literary Supplement as ‘scrupulously fair-minded . . . balanced and believable’.
|Hardback Price:||£25.00 / $49.95|
|Release Date:||July 2013|
|Page Extent / Format:||344 pp. / 234 x 156 mm|
PROLOGUE: ‘This much-talked-of Laureateship’
PART ONE: THE MAKING OF AN AESTHETE
1. The Dissenters of Newington Green
2. The Pleasures of Memory
3. Picturesque Traveller
4. Finding a Home
PART TWO: THE YEARS OF FAME
5. Columbus and Jacqueline
6. The Oracle of Holland House
7. Italy at Last
8. Italy Again
9. Mr. Rhymer
PART THREE: RESERVED FOR AGE
10. ‘Dear old Rogers’
11. ‘A balanced mind’
Tennysonians think of Samuel Rogers, if they think of him at all, as the man who lent Tennyson his court dress so that he could attend a royal levée in 1851. Rogers had performed a similar service for Wordsworth in 1845. He was, as Martin Blocksidge describes him, a ‘mannikin’, and both Wordsworth and Tennyson were large men, Tennyson particularly so. However, the courtly events passed off well, with Emily saying that the ‘coat did well enough but about the other parts […] there was some anxiety’ (7).
... Blocksidge is at pains in his thoroughly researched and readable book to show that there was much more to Rogers than this sartorial detail. He was a very popular and successful poet during his youth and middle age, so much so that he was offered the Laureateship first, before it passed to Tennyson. He refused, saying that ‘after long deliberation […] I am come, with great reluctance, to the resolution that I must decline the offer’ (5). He was by 1850 a very old man, and more significantly he was an eighteenth-century man, no longer popular and often satirically referred to as ‘Mr Rhymer’.
... Rogers was learning to write modern poetry, but ended up crowded out by his contemporaries, too late to secure him a significant place in posterity.
Reviewed by Marion Shaw, Loughborough University, in the Tennyson Research Bulletin, Vol. 10, No. 3, 201
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