The perception of Tennyson as a weak-minded melancholic was heightened by post-World War I criticism which tended to celebrate the dark side of Tennyson's vision. W.H. Auden wrote that Tennyson had "perhaps the finest ear of any English poet; he was also undoubtedly the stupidest; there was little about melancholy he did not understand; there was little else he did. " The notion of Tennyson as a "stupid" melancholic has persisted throughout the century. F.R. Leavis, in his highly dismissive commentary, described "'Tears, Idle Tears'" as a skillful piece of nostalgia, an uncritical indulgence in a cheap and familiar feeling. "There is no attitude towards the experience in the poem," writes Leavis, "except one of complaisance; we are to be wholly in it and of it. "



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