Tennyson nearly blundered

Alfred Lord Tennyson once proposed editing out the most famous lines of his poem, “The Charge of the Light Brigade.” He would have stricken “Theirs not to reason why/Theirs but to do and die” and “Someone had blunder’d”:

Tennyson, who was so mocked by critics as a young writer that he published no poetry for nine years, wrote “Here comes the new poem” on the proofs, which he instructed his publishers to burn.

He was notoriously unwilling to let people see his revisions, and the annotated copy is the only one known.

“It’s a great literary discovery,” said Tom Lamb, manuscript specialist at Christie’s….


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