Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Lady of Shalott” as Want to Read:
The Lady of Shalott
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Lady of Shalott

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  17,218 ratings  ·  249 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)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Lady of Shalott, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Lady of Shalott

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  17,218 ratings  ·  249 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Sean Barrs the Bookdragon
Sep 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
This poem is one of the first I ever read, and is a true pleasure to read aloud. Go on, give it a try! But, perhaps only do so when nobody else is in the house, to save embarrassment.

The Lady of Shallot is a lonely figure; she is isolated form the world and stuck up in a tower. She can only look out and admire the world that she cannot touch and cannot take part in. The world is separated from her by the height of the tower and the river moat that surrounds it, it constantly reminds her that she
Lynne King
May 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
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
Jonathan Terrington

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
Aug 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics, british, poetry
She left the web, she left the loom
She made three paces thro' the room
She saw the water-flower 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.

The Lady of Shalott is a sad and haunting poem about a noblewoman imprisoned in a tower who is cursed and sees the real world only through a mirror.
Many people, I dare say most, will claim to not like poetry, but this is one of those poems that I believe everyone can read and enjoy. The enchantment of the rhythm and rhyme of Tennyson's words, the hint of romance and the allusion to magic, all combine to make this poem a memorable pleasure.

Tennyson actually wrote two versions of this poem ten years apart (1832-1842). The later one is one verse shorter than the first, both very similar, both very good.
Dec 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
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."
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
Jul 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the only Tennyson that I have ever read and I really enjoyed it.

I would definitely be interested in reading more Tennyson - any recommendations would be very welcome.
Mar 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
I had to read this book today for work purposes. Oh my God, I loved it so much!

I would recommend knowing the plot BEFORE reading it! That really helps with Tennyson or any form of ballad, I think.

In the space of about a day, I fell in love with a poem. Who knew what joys work could bring!!!

I initially gave this five stars because I loved the experience but as a poem, it can get quite forgettable after a while and I was having doubts so I took this down to four stars.
Liz Janet
Aug 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
This story is loosely based on the tale of Elaine of Astolat, and of her love for Lancelot, which in this poem brings upon her a curse that leaves her dead. Arthurian legends defined my childhood, so it is only basic that such a poem would mark me.
The Lady cannot look upon the people, so she stares through a mirror at the road and sees Lancelot, and falls in love with him, her desire to go after him, but most importantly break free, dooms her.
"Under tower and balcony,
By garden wall and gallery
Dec 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Huda AbuKhoti
Aug 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Huda by: Mira
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
Apr 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
“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.”

Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am fan of illustrated books and discovered here on good reads Tennyson's great poem, "The Lady of Shalott," with illustrations by Genevieve Cote, who was captured and inspired by "its universal themes of love and death and its ideas about women and art."(1)

I found the artwork modern and complimentary to a Victorian classic that has become synonymous with the legend of King Arthur. It is a small, beautiful book that can be enjoyed by all ages.

Tennyson wrote two versions of "The Lady of Shalot
Apr 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-book
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
Aug 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: victorian, poetry
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."
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The quote Van Halen (if I'm allowed) "How do you know when it's love?"
Well, with Tennyson is very simple. Read "Ulysses" and you're done. Then you might as well read "The Lady of Shallot", which I did, and now I need an edition that collects all his work.
As I said - simple.

P.S. "All Things Will Die" is ❤
May 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Dana Al-Basha دانة الباشا
This is Anne of Green Gables favorite poem!! And it's one of my favorites as well!

Willows whiten, aspens shiver.
The sunbeam showers break and quiver
In the stream that runneth ever
By the island in the river
Flowing down to Camelot.
Four gray walls, and four gray towers
Overlook a space of flowers,
And the silent isle imbowers
The Lady of Shalott.

Jun 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, own
I am half sick of shadows," said The Lady of Shalott. Oh my goodness I loved this so much! I haven't read much poetry, but this was stunning. I want to reread it right now. And maybe daily until I've memorized it...Absolutely lovely.
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
this poem is everything I like, myth and a pretty lady, curse and death.
and BTW, search for the reading of this poem in YouTube. this woman sang it prettily and also thr video is really soothing.
Pritam Chatterjee
Aug 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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.

Kaethe Douglas
Jul 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, arthurian

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.
Sep 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Oh I really liked this!
Melissa Coyle
A beautiful, sad poem. I love the black and White illustrations by Charles Keeping, but a bit evocative for children.
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Beautiful language in the retelling of an episode from the Arthurian tales, where a lady was ensconced in a castle. Fearing that a curse would befall her should she gaze outside the window, she weaves tapestries of scenes from the outside world as seen through a mirror. As always with such tales, she does succumb to the temptations of the world (or perhaps actively decided to engage with it) beyond her window and perishes as a result. Tennyson's poem captures the turning point of the fateful dec ...more
She look'd down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack'd from side to side;
"The curse is upon me", cried
The Lady of Shalott.

Jan 24, 2018 rated it liked it

An enchanting poem about a lady who believes she has a curse set upon her.
Ashley Nikole
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such beautiful, haunting writing! How magical & romantic, yet tragic this poem is!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Highwayman
  • Goblin Market
  • My Last Duchess and Other Poems
  • Ancient Mariner; Kubla Khan and Christabel
  • I Wander'd Lonely as a Cloud
  • The Complete Poems
  • Dover Beach and Other Poems
  • Aurora Leigh
  • Selected Poems
  • Le Morte D'Arthur - Volume I
  • The Hollow Men
  • Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
  • English Victorian Poetry: An Anthology
  • Arthurian Romances
See similar books…
Alfred Tennyson, invariably known as Alfred Lord Tennyson on all his books, 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, Cambrid ...more
“I am half-sick of shadows,' said The Lady of Shalott.” 173 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.”
More quotes…