Idylls of the King

by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

 

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Image from the University of Rochester Camelot Project http://d.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/image/pyle-lady-of-shalott

This is a reread for me. Every few years I revisit these poems about chivalry, love, and the heartbreak of broken trust. Every time a different story catches my attention, and they all break my heart. It is hard to see the actual poetry, buried as it is under many layers of other images, movies, musicals, and illustrations from childhood readings. This time through, it was the story of Elaine and her death from unrequited love for Sir Lancelot. She was so young and fair, and her heart broke because the object of her love, Lancelot, is not free to return her love.

Hearts can and do ‘break’ from grief. For decades it was thought that this was a metaphor, but recent research confirms that the chemicals released into the bloodstream by severe, unrelenting emotion can have a harmful effect on the heart muscle. Sometimes these old bits of folk wisdom are wiser than we think.
 

The Interstitial Reader

I got some feedback from my Facebook friends that I was boring them to death with my long book reviews crossposted from Goodreads. I also have friends who do not belong to Goodreads or Facebook who tell me they’d like to know what I have to say about the books I read. A blog seemed a good way to go. Naturally there will be some overlap, and I hope you will enjoy what I have to say. Starting today, I will be posting reviews of the books as I finish them. Not everything will appear everywhere. Does John Milton really need another review on Amazon or Goodreads? At the same time, I might have some things to say about him that aren’t exactly reviews, but more like a personal response to his work. Just finishing up Paradise Lost and moving on to Samson Agonistes to finish a collection of his poetry. I seem to be reading a lot of poetry lately, and I’ll be sharing my thoughts with you about that, too.