Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department or Program

Graduate Humanities

Department or Program Chair

Joan Baranow, PhD

First Reader

Leslie Ross, PhD

Second Reader

Thomas Burke, MFA


Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) the poet and Julia Margaret Cameron the photographer (1813-1879) worked collaboratively on the Idylls of the King; a work of epic poetry that Tennyson wrote about the legends of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. His re-envisioned tales were cautionary and provided guidelines as to how women should behave or face the consequences of causing the downfall of society. Victorian society was in a precarious situation as women were expected to behave in certain ways, but at the same time they were finding their voices and beginning to speak out about patriarchal society and their own displeasure at how they had been treated. At the same time that Tennyson was writing about how women should behave and remain in their expected social roles, he chose a woman to photograph and illustrate his work. Although there is a certain irony in this collaboration given the times they lived in, things were changing and women were beginning to gain a voice.