From Lotos-Eaters to Lotus-Eaters: Tennyson’s And Rossetti’s Mediated Addiction

  • Adam Colman
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Literature, Science and Medicine book series (PLSM)


This chapter traces the connection between the work of Alfred Tennyson and Christina Rossetti specifically with regard to their similar engagement with figures of addiction. Tennyson’s poem most often viewed as a depiction of addiction is his “Lotos-Eaters,” and Rossetti wrote a poem that drew from Tennyson’s before she went on to write her own poem often read as a narrative of addiction: Goblin Market. Colman argues that the two poets found in narratives of addiction the premise for something Isobel Armstrong would call “the double poem,” a typical Victorian poem in which consensus thinking challenges itself. Addiction as it was understood by the mid-Victorian age had taken on similarly contradictory meanings, linked both to scientific pursuit and to health crisis. Tennyson and Rossetti, Colman argues, explored new forms for registering that contradiction, suggesting all the while the benefits of literary analogues of addiction rather than addiction itself.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adam Colman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EnglishUniversity of Massachusetts AmherstAmherstUSA

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