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The Lady of Shalott

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  12,158 ratings  ·  145 reviews
The Lady of Shalott is the third book in Visions in Poetry, an award-winning series of classic poems illustrated by outstanding contemporary artists in stunning hardcover editions. Tennyson's beautiful and enigmatic poem of unrequited love, set in Arthurian England, has enthralled artists for well over a century. With her luminous illustrations, Genevi?ve C?t? weaves a ref ...more
Paperback, 40 pages
Published May 6th 1999 by Oxford University Press (first published 1833)
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The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer BradleyThe Once and Future King by T.H. WhiteMary Stewart's Merlin Trilogy by Mary StewartLe Morte d'Arthur by Thomas MaloryThe Winter King by Bernard Cornwell
The Arthurian Legend Retold
10th out of 394 books — 641 voters
The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer BradleyThe Once and Future King by T.H. WhiteMary Stewart's Merlin Trilogy by Mary StewartLe Morte d'Arthur by Thomas MaloryThe Winter King by Bernard Cornwell
Best Arthurian Fiction
26th out of 346 books — 1,215 voters


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Community Reviews

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Lynne King
This suits my current frame of mind beautifully.

An absolutely splendid work. That's all I need to say.

I read it years ago but now it seems to have had more of a profound impact on me for some obscure reason.

It's short but one can really savour all the nuances.

I especially liked:

"“She left the web, she left the loom,
She made three paces through the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
She look'd down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack'd fr
...more
Jonathan

Alongside Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven, Alfred Tennyson's The Lady of Shalott stands as one of the more fascinating works of poetry from the 1800s. Aesthetically it is a work of great and simply beauty, therefore providing evidence that language in a poetic simplicity can provide some of the greatest and most beautiful ideas and images. After all, in the Bible, the splendour of light was released with 'Let there be light.'

The poem appears simple on the outside, with a nice flowing rhythm, reinfor
...more
Cheryl
The fairy Lady who lives in an island castle is known only to the barley farmers who speak of her by moonlight. She is plagued by a curse that forbids her to look at the world first hand, but rather she must know it only through the mirror's reflection. Her constant weaving translates the world onto cloth, the nature of the curse is unknown to her, and it is her only concern in her contained existence.

The mirror's images only serve to seduce her, as they seem a poor substitute for reality. When
...more
Manny
There's a nice moment in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie which references this poem. They're reading it in class, and they've just reached the line
And round about the prow she wrote: 'The Lady of Shalott'.
The schoolgirl, daydreaming and only half paying attention, imagines herself talking with Tennyson's eponymous heroine.

"What did you write it with?" she asks.

"I found a pot of paint on the bank," replies the Lady. "It had probably been left there by one of the Unemployed."
Nihan
Lanetlendiği için Camelot'un yüksek kulelerinden birine hapsedilen bir kadını anlatır. Kadının kuleden dışarı bakması kesinlikle yasaktır, eğer dışarı çıkarsa ya da pencereden bakarsa ölecektir.
Tek avuntusu kulenin duvarına asılı olan bir aynanın gösterdikleridir. Bazen güneşli bir sabahta göğe uzanan sazları, bazen de iki aşık çiftin el ele dolaşmalarını izler.

Sonra günlerden bir gün şovalyelerin gelişini görür. Başlarında Sir Lancelot vardır. Sir Lancelot o kadar muhteşem, o kadar ulaşılmaz gö
...more
Mira
Mysterious, full of life, beauty, colors, and of passion: The Lady of Shalott is one of the most beautiful poems I've ever read. The skilful hands of painter John William Waterhouse -through his collection of paintings illustrating this tale- were the first to make me acquainted with the poem, and then there was Loreena Mckennitt's wonderful lyrical cover of the ballad. Thus the myth of The Lady of Shalott combines my favourite three forms of sublime art: poetry, music, and painting.

The descrip
...more
Kelly
My favorite poem. Even after all these years, it still gets to me. It is long, but worth it, I feel. I beg of you to read past the Romantic descriptions of nature and the older English to what's really in there:

On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And through the field the road run by
To many-tower'd Camelot;
And up and down the people go,
Gazing where the lilies blow
Round an island there below,
The island of Shalott.

Willows whit
...more
Prashant
The entire poem is given in the description and I just read it twice.

Here is the tragedy of love.

The tragedy of weaving your world the way you expect it to be.

The desire to risk everything you have for the want of that fleeting moment.

The curse of seeing the world through something else then your own eyes.

The mark on your possessions so that everyone would know who you were when you are gone.

The fatal nature of the very thing that you always wanted to have the most.

The recognition gained b
...more
Huda AbuKhoti
Aug 27, 2012 Huda AbuKhoti rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Huda by: Mira
Shelves: art, poetry
This poem has left me with a calm melancholy. Beauty, art, deprivation, infatuation, and a tragic liberating ending, it has it all.

I read the scanned papers of a beautiful edition by Mead Dodd with splendid illustrations, published in 1881. It elevated the poetry to a whole different level.



This ballad, in my opinion deals with human nature, its needs and longings. The Lady of Shalott is a woman who's under a curse that she knows nothing about its cause. Forced to see the world in a two dimensi
...more
Danielle
I'm bored at work and was just messing around goodreads when I happened upon this. Low and behold, the entire poem is in the description. Take a few minutes out of your day and read this beautiful poem. I guarantee you'll want to take a few minutes out of a few more days to read it again.

Arthurian legends are so full of adventure and intrigue that they are near irresistible in and of themselves, but turn prose to verse and you suddenly have something else entirely more magical (like one of my o
...more
Miriam
I haven't seen this illustrated version, I'll have to find it.
For anyone who really likes this poem, I recommend picking up a critical edition such as Ricks' Tennyson, which shows changes the poet made, sometimes even after the original publication. Mostly notably, in earlier versions of the poem the Lady arrives still alive before the knights and makes a declaration before dying; this was later changed to the standard version where she arrives already deceased and "has a lovely face."
Melissa Coyle
A beautiful, sad poem. I love the black and White illustrations by Charles Keeping, but a bit evocative for children.
❄️ Propertea Of Frostea ❄️
The Lady Of Shalott by Alfred Lord Tennyson.





The poem was calm at first, telling about the setting of it and the Lady. Not many lines, few lines that make a picture in your head. Later, more comes, and the lady is no more...
This is NOT a review, I dunno what to say...



...

Only reapers, reaping early,
In among the bearded barley
Hear a song that echoes cheerly
From the river winding clearly;

...

All in the blue unclouded weather
Thick-jewell'd shone the saddle-leather,
The helmet and the helmet-feath
...more
Pritam Chatterjee
The poem is an wonderful example of word-painting by the most appropriate successor of Wordsworth to the position of Poet Laureate, Alfred Lord Tennyson. That the poem is the manifestation of the poet's mere fascination of a medieval lore, far away from his immediate world, can be safely snubbed through proper and minute analysis. The poem may be said to bear three principal themes. The first and the most popular is that it states how an artist's vision is shattered by a callous world. The secon ...more
SarahC
I want to warn you that if someone offers you the choice of this book or a box of chocolate, you might want to take the book. It is lovely, filled with luminous pastel art, front to back. Seriously the kind of edition you want to tuck under your pillow like you did when you were little. I got it out last night and reread it and just thought I would post it in case some one is looking for a last minute gift for someone.

Enjoy.
Lee Regan
"She left the web, left the loom,
She made three paces thro' the room,
She saw the water-lilly bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
She look'd down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack'd from side to side;
'The curse is come upon me,' cried
The Lady of Shalott."
Lady of Shalott, Part III
Kaethe
1982

I think I like it more as I get older, and see it quoted all over the place. The lines are lovely, the rhythm soothing, even if there's not much there. I think it's funny that Lancelot is described, but not The Lady.
Michael Jones
For me, this poem's sense of rhythm and the idea that I am flowing down a river is extremely pleasurable reading. I have read it to my children quite a few times, and they enjoy even though they may not fully understand it.
Annchen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nikki
I am not ashamed to say that I cried.
Fascinating, well-written, enchanting...
Anna
Loved it when I first read it, and now love it even more now that I know more about Victorians and Victorian Literature.
Riff Denbow
One of my very favourite poems, wonderful and majestic, my favourite of Tennyson's Arthurian poems.
Sophia
This is for school, but when I read it I can't help but think about Anne of Green Gables...haha
Lynn
This is the type of poem that requires more reading and analysis than to get it the first try.

I read it thrice and I still did not understand why she was cursed or became a butterfly. I guess inference and extrapolation is necessary. Nowhere did it mention in there that she was infatuated with Lancelot at all. But it did infer that she was a seamstress and you're supposed to infer that she's trapped by the times, where men roamed free and women could only sew behind glass walls...

Quite beautiful
...more
Arabella  Adrienne
La Dame de Shalott est l'un des plus beaux poèmes, des obsédants que j'ai jamais lus. Je pense que la raison, il est en est ainsi parce qu'il est tellement différent de notre monde d'aujourd'hui - les malédictions, les chevaliers, dames pris au piège dans les tours. . . ce poème est l'évasion parfaite du monde réel, et je pense que c'est une des raisons pour lesquelles il est si chère. Tennyson est un écrivain remarquable, et certainement savaient filer un conte - et en étant capable de laisser ...more
Tina
We get a long lyrical story
Nothing gruesome or gory
8 stanzes of which forshadows
the tale of the lady half sick of shadows
which leaves her mirror and her loom
to trigger a curse so full of gloom

Okay enough of that crap, its 1 am. the story when you read it is lyrical and flows off the tongue. However the story itself imo is SHAT. She FINALLY leaves her loom and gets what? Death. A glorious death at least you ask? Hell no, a pointless one. So why not rate a 1 star? I did mention it was beautifully
...more
Ambrosia
I first read this poem at the age of twelve. Since then, I have been obsessed with Tennyson's poetry, and absolutely in love with his work. In addition to The Lady of Shalott, I also enjoyed this poems The Kraken and The March of the Light Brigade. What's lovely about Tennyson's poetry is the rich imagery that he uses to paint the setting for the story. Particularly in this bit of genius poetry, the reader is able to picture every single part of the poem clearly in their head; how the Isle of Sh ...more
Marilee
I've had bits and pieces of this poem in my head since I watched Anne of Green Gables as a kid, and I thought it was about time I read the whole thing. Tennyson's words paint beautiful images and you could feel the loneliness and sense of despair. The edition I read had lovely illustrations by Genevieve Cote that fit the poem perfectly. I borrowed this one from the library, but I may have to go out and get my own.
Georgia
Very long poem, which is beautifully written. The general idea is that the Lady is trapped in a tower under a curse, where she inevitably ends up looking out the window which is condemned and she dies. Tennyson is personally one of my favourite poets, but this poem is one of his longer ones. Well worth a read
Connie Hodges
This is the sort of beautiful, eloquent writing that pulls the heart strings and keeps readers fascinated to the end. The beautiful, tragic story of the Lady of Shalott is an elegant portrait of a lady of gentle birth who meets a tragic end. Without spoiling the book, the story describes unrequited love in such elegant terms that quotes remain fastened in the mind long after reading. It requires an appreciation for the romantic, now archaic sort of verbiage but is a beautiful story of a lovely a ...more
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Alfred Tennyson was born in Somersby, Lincolnshire, the fourth of the twelve children of George Tennyson, clergyman, and his wife, Elizabeth. In 1816 Tennyson was sent to Louth Grammar School, which he disliked so intensely that from 1820 he was educated at home until at the age of 18 he joined his two brothers at Trinity College, Cambridge and with his brother Charles published his first book, Po ...more
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“I am half-sick of shadows,' said The Lady of Shalott.” 123 likes
“She left the web, she left the loom,
She made three paces through the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
She look'd down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack'd from side to side;
"The curse is come upon me," cried
The Lady of Shalott.”
72 likes
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