Unlocking the secret of 'Locksley Hall'

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Despite its originality, Tennyson's poem 'Locksley Hall' (1842) shares considerable characteristics with the pre-Islamic Arabic poems the Mu'allaq-at, namely those composed by Imru' al-Qays and 'Antara. The similarities include length, rhyme, metre, genre, themes and appeal, which this article compares in order to show that Tennyson adapts these source text resources to the concerns and subject matter of his own poem, and not for the purpose of translating the Mu'allaq-at. It follows that 'Locksley Hall' needs to be studied in modern scholarship not only as a poem that reflects some aspects of Tennyson's biography and poetic craft, but also as an imitation of other poetry. This article analyses the details that unveil the imitative strategy Tennyson adopts in 'Locksley Hall'. In so doing, it posits that 'imitation' is better suited than 'intertextuality' as a conceptual tool for articulating the links between 'Locksley Hall' and the Mu'allaq-at. Furthermore, in contrast to previous critical studies that refer to the influence on Tennyson of the Mu'allaqa of Imru' al-Qays, this article argues that Tennyson combines two Mu'allaqat as source materials for his own poem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-46
Number of pages22
JournalComparative Critical Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Imitation
  • Intertextuality
  • Locksley hall
  • Lord alfred tennyson
  • Mu'allaqat
  • Translation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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