Robert Browning (7 May 1812 – 12 December 1889) was an English poet and playwright whose dramatic monologues put him high among the Victorian poets. His verse was noted for irony, characterization, dark humour, social commentary, historical settings and challenging vocabulary and syntax. His career began well – the long poems Pauline (1833) and Paracelsus (1835) were acclaimed – but his reputation shrank for a time – his 1840 poem Sordello was seen as wilfully obscure – and took over a decade to recover, by which time he had moved from Shelleyan forms to a more personal style. In 1846 Browning married the older poet Elizabeth Barrett and went to live in Italy. By her death in 1861 he had published the collection Men and Women (1855). His Dramatis Personae (1864) and book-length epic poem The Ring and the Book (1868–1869) made him a leading British poet. He continued to be prolific, but his reputation today rests mainly on his middle period. By his death in 1889 he was seen as a sage and philosopher-poet who had fed into Victorian social and political discourse. Societies for studying his work formed in his lifetime and survived in Britain and the US into the 20th century.
Robert Browning (7 May 1812 – 12 December 1889) was an English poet and playwright whose dramatic monologues put him tall among the Victorian poets. His verse was noted for irony, characterization, dark humour, social commentary, historical settings and inspiring vocabulary and syntax. His career began well – the long poems Pauline (1833) and Paracelsus (1835) were acclaimed – but his reputation shrank for a time – his 1840 poem Sordello was seen as wilfully obscure – and took higher than a decade to recover, by which get older he had moved from Shelleyan forms to a more personal style. In 1846 Browning married the older poet Elizabeth Barrett and went to alive in Italy. By her death in 1861 he had published the collection Men and Women (1855). His Dramatis Personae (1864) and book-length epic poem The Ring and the Book (1868–1869) made him a leading British poet. He continued to be prolific, but his reputation today rests mainly upon his middle period. By his death in 1889 he was seen as a sage and philosopher-poet who had fed into Victorian social and diplomatic discourse. Societies for studying his take steps formed in his lifetime and survived in Britain and the US into the 20th century.
Robert Browning was born in Walworth in the parish of Camberwell, Surrey, which now forms ration of the Borough of Southwark in south London. He was baptised upon 14 June 1812, at Lock’s Fields Independent Chapel, York Street, Walworth, the by yourself son of Sarah Anna (née Wiedemann) and Robert Browning. His daddy was a well-paid clerk for the Bank of England, earning about £150 per year. Browning’s paternal grandfather was a slave owner in Saint Kitts, West Indies, but Browning’s father was an abolitionist. Browning’s daddy had been sent to the West Indies to work upon a sugar plantation, but, due to a slave revolt there, had returned to England. Browning’s mother was the daughter of a German shipowner who had approved in Dundee in Scotland, and his Scottish wife. Browning had one sister, Sarianna. Browning’s paternal grandmother, Margaret Tittle, who had familial a plantation in St Kitts, was rumoured (within the family) to have a poisoned race ancestry, including some Jamaican blood, but author Julia Markus suggests she was Kittitian rather than Jamaican. The evidence, however, is inconclusive. Robert’s father, a university collector, amassed a library of in this area 6,000 books, many of them rare. As such, Robert was raised in a household of significant bookish resources. His mother, to whom he was certainly close, was a devout nonconformist and a skilled musician. His younger sister, Sarianna, also gifted, became her brother’s companion in his well along years, after the death of his wife in 1861. His daddy encouraged his children’s engagement in literature and the arts.
By 12, Browning had written a collection of poetry which he cutting edge destroyed when no publisher could be found. After swine at one or two private schools, and showing an insuperable be repulsed by of literary life, he was educated at home by a tutor via the resources of his father’s extensive library. By 14, he was fluent in French, Greek, Italian and Latin. He became a good admirer of the Romantic poets, especially Shelley. Following the precedent of Shelley, Browning became an atheist and vegetarian. At 16, he studied Greek at University College London but left after his first year. His parents’ staunch evangelical faith prevented his studying at either Oxford or Cambridge University, both then gate only to members of the Church of England. He had familial substantial musical attainment through his mother, and composed arrangements of various songs. He refused a formal career and ignored his parents’ remonstrations, dedicating himself to poetry. He stayed at house until the age of 34, financially dependent on his relations until his marriage. His father sponsored the publication of his son’s poems.
In March 1833, “Pauline, a Fragment of a Confession” was published anonymously by Saunders and Otley at the expense of the author, Robert Browning, who usual the money from his aunt, Mrs Silverthorne. It is a long poem composed in homage to the poet Shelley and somewhat in his style. Originally Browning considered Pauline as the first of a series written by swap aspects of himself, but he soon on your own this idea. The press noticed the publication. W. J. Fox writing in The Monthly Repository of April 1833 discerned merit in the work. Allan Cunningham praised it in the Athenaeum. However, it sold no copies. Some years later, probably in 1850, Dante Gabriel Rossetti came across it in the Reading Room of the British Museum and wrote to Browning, then in Florence to ask if he was the author. John Stuart Mill, however, wrote that the author suffered from an “intense and morbid self-consciousness”. Later Browning was rather disconcerted by the work, and by yourself included it in his collected poems of 1868 after making substantial changes and appendage a preface in which he asked for indulgence for a boyish work.
In 1834, he accompanied the Chevalier George de Benkhausen, the Russian consul-general, on a brief visit to St Petersburg and began Paracelsus, which was published in 1835. The subject of the 16th-century savant and alchemist was probably suggested to him by the Comte Amédée de Ripart-Monclar, to whom it was dedicated. The notice had some billboard and vital success, being noticed by Wordsworth, Dickens, Landor, J. S. Mill and the already famous Tennyson. It is a monodrama without action, dealing gone the problems confronting an smart trying to find his role in society. It gained him admission to the London college world.
As a outcome of his new links he met Macready, who invited him to write a play. Strafford was performed five times. Browning subsequently wrote two other plays, one of which was not performed, while the other failed, Browning having fallen out later than Macready.
In 1838, he visited Italy looking for background for Sordello, a long poem in audacious couplets, presented as the imaginary biography of the Mantuan bard spoken of by Dante in the Divine Comedy, canto 6 of Purgatory, set adjacent to a background of hate and act during the Guelph-Ghibelline wars. This was published in 1840 and met past widespread derision, gaining him the reputation of wanton carelessness and obscurity. Tennyson commented that he single-handedly understood the first and last lines and Carlyle wrote that his wife had right to use the poem through and could not tell whether Sordello was a man, a city or a book.
Browning’s reputation began to make a partial recovery in the make public of the publication, 1841–1846, of Bells and Pomegranates, a series of eight pamphlets, originally designed just to put in his plays. Fortunately for Browning’s career, his publisher, Moxon, persuaded him to attach some “dramatic lyrics”, some of which had already appeared in periodicals.
In 1845, Browning met the poet Elizabeth Barrett, six years his senior, who lived as a semi-invalid in her father’s house in Wimpole Street, London. They began regularly corresponding and gradually a romance developed in the company of them, leading to their marriage and journey to Italy (for Elizabeth’s health) on 12 September 1846. The marriage was initially unknown because Elizabeth’s domineering father disapproved of marriage for any of his children. Mr. Barrett disinherited Elizabeth, as he did for each of his children who married: “The Mrs. Browning of popular imagination was a sweet, innocent young girl who suffered endless cruelties at the hands of a tyrannical papa but who nonetheless had the good fortune to slip in love with a dashing and attractive poet named Robert Browning.” At her husband’s insistence, the second edition of Elizabeth’s Poems included her adore sonnets. The photo album increased her popularity and high essential regard, cementing her turn as an eminent Victorian poet. Upon William Wordsworth’s death in 1850, she was a omnipotent contender to become Poet Laureate, the incline eventually going to Tennyson.
From the get older of their marriage and until Elizabeth’s death, the Brownings lived in Italy, residing first in Pisa, and then, within a year, finding an apartment in Florence at Casa Guidi (now a museum to their memory). Their by yourself child, Robert Wiedemann Barrett Browning, nicknamed “Penini” or “Pen”, was born in 1849. In these years Browning was fascinated by, and educational from, the art and vent of Italy. He would, in forward-looking life, describe Italy as his university. As Elizabeth had inherited allowance of her own, the couple were suitably comfortable in Italy, and their relationship together was happy. However, the instructor assault upon Browning’s pretense did not let up and he was rationally dismissed further, by patrician writers such as Charles Kingsley, for the leaving of England for foreign lands.
Browning identified as a Liberal, supported the emancipation of women, and opposed slavery, expressing empathy for the North in the American Civil War. Later in life, he even championed animal rights in several poems attacking vivisection. He was moreover a stalwart challenger of anti-Semitism, leading to speculation that Browning himself was Jewish. In 1877 he wrote a poem explaining “Why I am a Liberal” in which he declared: “Who after that dares hold – emancipated thus / His fellow shall continue bound? Not I.”
Browning was raised in an evangelical non-conformist household. However, after his reading of Shelley he is said to have briefly become an atheist. Browning is after that said to have made an unusual admission of faith to Alfred Domett, when he is said to have admired Byron’s poetry “as a Christian”. Poems such as “Christmas-Eve and Easter-Day” seem to avow this Christian faith, strengthened by his wife. However, many have dismissed the usefulness of these works at discovering Browning’s own religious views due to the consistent use of dramatic monologue which regularly expresses educational views which cannot be qualified to the author himself.
Browning believed spiritualism to be fraud, and proved one of Daniel Dunglas Home’s most adamant critics. When Browning and his wife Elizabeth attended one of his séances upon 23 July 1855, a spirit turn materialized, which Home claimed was Browning’s son who had died in infancy: Browning seized the “materialization” and discovered it to be Home’s bare foot. To make the deception worse, Browning had never drifting a son in infancy.
After the séance, Browning wrote an angry letter to The Times, in which he said: “the total display of hands, spirit utterances etc., was a cheat and imposture.” In 1902 Browning’s son Pen wrote: “Home was detected in a vulgar fraud.” Elizabeth, however, was convinced that the phenomena she witnessed were genuine, and her discussions just about Home considering her husband were a constant source of disagreement.
In Florence, probably from to the fore in 1853, Browning worked upon the poems that eventually comprised his two-volume Men and Women, for which he is now with ease known, although in 1855, when they were published, they made relatively little impact.
In 1861, Elizabeth died in Florence. Among those whom he found consoling in that period[vague] was the novelist and poet Isa Blagden, with whom he and his wife had a voluminous correspondence. The later than year Browning returned to London, taking Pen gone him, who by subsequently was 12 years old. They made their house in 17 Warwick Crescent, Maida Vale. It was only later he became allocation of the London researcher scene—albeit while paying frequent visits to Italy (though never anew to Florence)—that his reputation started to take off.
In 1868, after five years behave he completed and published the long blank-verse poem The Ring and the Book. Based upon a convoluted murder-case from 1690s Rome, the poem is composed of 12 books: essentially 10 extended dramatic monologues narrated by various characters in the story, showing their individual perspectives upon events, bookended by an instigation and conclusion by Browning himself. Long even by Browning’s standards (over twenty-thousand lines), The Ring and the Book was his most ambitious project and is arguably his greatest work; it has been called a tour de force of dramatic poetry. Published in four parts from November 1868 to February 1869, the poem was a triumph both commercially and critically, and finally brought Browning the renown he had sought for approximately 40 years. The Robert Browning Society was formed in 1881 and his work was recognised as belonging within the British scholastic canon.
In the permanent years of his life Browning travelled extensively. After a series of long poems published in the to the front 1870s, of which Balaustion’s Adventure and Red Cotton Night-Cap Country were the best-received, the volume Pacchiarotto, and How He Worked in Distemper included an attack neighboring Browning’s critics, especially Alfred Austin, who was well ahead to become Poet Laureate. According to some reports Browning became romantically practicing with Louisa Caroline Stewart-Mackenzie, Lady Ashburton, but he refused her proposal of marriage, and did not remarry. In 1878, he revisited Italy for the first times in the seventeen years before Elizabeth’s death, and returned there upon several extra occasions. In 1887, Browning produced the major take effect of his progressive years, Parleyings considering Certain People of Importance in Their Day. It finally presented the poet speaking in his own voice, engaging in a series of dialogues later than long-forgotten figures of literary, artistic, and philosophic history. The Victorian public was baffled by this, and Browning returned to the brief, concise lyric for his last volume, Asolando (1889), published on the hours of daylight of his death.
Browning died at his son’s home Ca’ Rezzonico in Venice upon 12 December 1889. He was buried in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey; his grave now lies rapidly adjacent to that of Alfred Tennyson.
During his vibrancy Browning was awarded many distinctions. He was made LL.D. of Edinburgh, a activity Governor of London University, and had the meet the expense of of the Lord Rectorship of Glasgow. But he turned down everything that dynamic public speaking.