Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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Browning, Elizabeth Barrett,

1806–61, English poet, b. Durham. A delicate and precocious child, she spent a great part of her early life in a state of semi-invalidism. She read voraciously—philosophy, history, literature—and she wrote verse. In 1838 the Barrett family moved to 50 Wimpole St., London. Six years later Elizabeth published Poems, which brought her immediate fame. The volume was a favorite of the poet Robert Browning, and he began to correspond with her. The two fell in love, but their courtship was secret because of the opposition of Elizabeth's tyrannical father. They married in 1846 and traveled to Italy, where most of their married life was spent and where their one son was born. Mrs. Browning threw herself into the cause of Italian liberation from Austria. "Casa Guidi," their home in Florence, is preserved as a memorial. Happy in her marriage, Mrs. Browning recovered her health in Italy, and her work as a poet gained in strength and significance. Her greatest poetry, Sonnets from the Portuguese (1850), was inspired by her own love story. Casa Guidi Windows (1851), on Italian liberty, and Aurora Leigh (1857), a novel in verse, followed. During her lifetime Mrs. Browning was considered a better poet than her husband. Today her life and personality excite more interest than her work. Although as a poet she has been criticized for diffuseness, pedantry, and sentimentality, she reveals in such poems as "The Cry of the Children" and some of the Sonnets from the Portuguese a highly individual gift for lyric poetry.


See The Letters of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 1845–46 (1899, new ed. 1930); R. Besier, The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1930), the most popular dramatization of the Brownings' love story; biographies by G. B. Taplin (1957), I. C. Clarke (1929, repr. 1970), and M. Forster (1989); The Courtship of Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning (1985) by D. Karlin; studies by H. Cooper (1988) and G. Stephenson (1989); bibliography by W. Barnes (1967).

Browning, Elizabeth Barrett


(Moulton Barrett). Born Mar. 6, 1806, in Durham; died June 30, 1861, in Florence. English poet. Daughter of a West Indian planter and wife of the poet R. Browning.

Browning’s first work was the narrative poem The Battle of Marathon (1820). A collection of poems (vols. 1-2) was published in 1844; it included the poem, “The Cry of the Children,” which was translated into Russian several times and served as the basis for the work by N. A. Nekrasov of the same name. The theme of the poem is the backbreaking labor of children in capitalist factories. A subtle artist in the use of intimate lyrics, Browning also wrote poems with social themes, such as the poems Casa Guidi Windows (1851) and “Songs to the Congress” (1860), in which impressions of the Italian revolution of 1848 are reflected. Her novel in verse, Aurora Leigh (1857), was devoted to the theme of women’s equality.


Complete Poetical Works, vols. 1-2. New York, 1919.
The Letters, vols. 1-2. Edited by F. G. Kenyon. [London], 1897.


Iakovlev, N. “Nekrasov i Barret Brauning (’Plach detei’).” Kniga i revoliutsiia, 1921, no. 2.
Taplin, G. B. The Life of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. New Haven, 1957.
References in periodicals archive ?
Lewis, Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Spiritual Progress: Face to Face with God.
Notable declines occurred when Jung left Freud's psychoanalytic group, when Elizabeth Barrett welcomed death's approach while her husband dreaded it, and when Plath and Hughes' marriage fell apart.
The first thing we need to know about Aurora Leigh is that Elizabeth Barrett Browning declared it to be "the most mature of my works, and the one into which my highest convictions upon Life and Art have entered.
The attack happened when Elizabeth Barrett and her colleague Melissa Derby volunteered to take two mentally ill patients on a caravanning holiday in Cumbria.
The color, says designer Jill Kollmar of Beverly Hills, was inspired by Casa Guidi, the home of Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning in Florence, Italy, and it plus the soft flickering sconces and candelabras set the mood for this somewhat sensual room that houses nearly 1,000 vintage leather-bound books.
Starting her doctoral project with the intention of finding out how Elizabeth Barrett Browning came to be excluded from the canon, Lootens came to realize that 'the process of decanonization was much more complex and ambiguous than I had thought' (pp.
Thum presents a reading of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Aurora Leigh that disputes the critical consensus that the poem/novel is essentially conservative, upholding the status quo.
Traditionally associated with "promiscuity, slothfulness and lazy people," McKay says there are a lot of high-achieving people who worked out of their beds, including Marcel Proust, Mark Twain, John Milton, Sibelius, Elizabeth Barrett Browning and a woman in Beverly Hills who is owner of the patent for the push-up bra.
The correspondence of Elizabeth Barrett Browning occasionally approaches that of Byron and Carlyle in narrative thrust during her years in Italy, especially when she reported to her family and friends back home in England about the various uprisings in the peninsula as Italy fought to be rid of foreign domination.
Perhaps the illusion of agraceful ascent from life was enhanced by the literary aura that emanated from some of its victims: Robert Louis Stevenson, the great novelist; Thomas Mann, author of the Magic Mountain, a literary classic that used a sanatorium as its background; HJenry David Thoreau; the Bronte sisters; Elizabeth Barrett Browning; and many other luminaries of the time, including Frederic Chopin, the composer.
Karpinksi joins Elizabeth Barrett, Director of Consultant Relations, and Sarah Morton, Managing Director of Consultant Relations, two recent additions to Evergreen's consultant relations group.
At the same time, "A Curse for a Nation" constitutes a kind of revision or development of the elements Elizabeth Barrett Browning first experimented with in 1846 in "The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim's Point," a refinement of a poem whose confusing political contradictions demonstrate its own struggle towards self-revision.