Idylls of the King by Tennyson

Idylls of the King Index

by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Flos Regum Arthurus (Joseph of Exeter)

EIL Editor’s Note: Idylls of the King is a cycle of twelve narrative poems by the English poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892). It retells the legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, his love for Guinevere, and the rise and fall of his kingdom. The legend of Arthur had been told many times before since the 5th century king was first mentioned in 850 AD, most definitively in Sir Thomas Mallory’s Le Morte D’Arthur in 1469. Tennyson’s version of the legend began publication at approximately the same time as Bulfinch’s prose work The Age of Chivalry, from which it was differentiated not only by the beauty of its poetry but also by Tennyson’s many expansions of the legend.


[Commissioned by Tennyson]
King Arthur, Sept. 1874, photograph by Julia Margaret Cameron
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, David Hunter McAlpin Fund, 1952 (52.524.3.11)
Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art; used with permission.



The Coming of Arthur


Gareth and Lynette

The Marriage of Geraint

Geraint and Enid

Balin and Balan

Merlin and Vivien

Lancelot and Elaine

The Holy Grail

Pelleas and Ettarre

The Last Tournament



The Passing of Arthur

To the Queen


When will you read Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s writing in Excellence in Literature?

You’ll study Tennyson as part of EIL Unit 1 (Introduction to Literature) as well as EIL Unit 4 (British Literature)


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