Books and Movies Reviews

Bulfinch and Tennyson

In Bulfinch’s Mythology, Thomas Bulfinch, writes in a repetitive way using mostly facts and summaries of important and dramatic events. Thomas Bulfinch wrote so that he wouldn’t disturb England and the English culture, history, and traditions. He writes of romances with sudden tragic endings and battles with interesting adventures. In his version of The Lady of Shalott, Bulfinch sticks with his dull explanations and descriptions of important characters. “The lord of this castle had a daughter of exquisite beauty” (323). Even though Bulfinch tells a little about the daughter, Elaine, he describes her rather flatly, generalizing but not detailing her beauty. During this story, a love affair occurs between Sir Lancelot and Queen Guenever, who is married to King Arthur. The story continues with the Arthur hosting a tournament to give away the last of the nine diamonds to the winner. Sir Lancelot has won the previous eight diamonds and wants to be able to win this last one to complete the collection and to present the diamonds to his fair queen. When the king is ready to depart with Lancelot, Bulfinch has events turn with hardly any explanation; he has “The king leaving the queen with her court at Camelot,” and Sir Lancelot merely “remaining behind also” (322). This is another example on how Thomas Bulfinch writes with very short, unemotional explanations. After Arthur leaves, Guenever tells Lancelot that she wants him to go to the tournament for her and win the last diamond. She concocts a plan to get Lancelot to the event. Despite the fact that these two are in collusion to trick their admirable king, Bulfinch merely says that Lancelot’s “intention was to attend the tournament in disguise” (322). In Alfred Tennyson’s version of this conversation between the queen and Lancelot, he goes into more detail about these events and conversations.
Lord Alfred Tennyson is exactly opposite to Thomas Bulfinch in his approach to the same legend. H…