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Robert Browning _Browning.

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Presentation on theme: "Robert Browning _Browning."— Presentation transcript:

1 Robert Browning _Browning

2 Life Robert Browning (7 May 1812–1889) was an English poet and playwright whose mastery of dramatic verse, especially dramatic monologues, made him one of the foremost Victorian poets.

3 Life Browning was born in Camberwell, a suburb of London, England, the first son of Robert and Sarah Anna Browning. His father was a well-paid clerk for the Bank of England.

4 Life Browning’s paternal grandfather was a wealthy slave owner in St Kitts, West Indies, but Browning’s father was an abolitionist. Browning's father had been sent to the West Indies to work on a sugar plantation.

5 Life Revolted by the slavery there, he returned to England. Browning’s mother was a musician. He had one sister, Sarianna. It is rumoured that Browning's grandmother, Margaret Tittle, was a Jamaican-born mulatto who had inherited a plantation in St Kitts.

6 Life Robert's father amassed a library of around 6,000 books, many of them rare. Thus, Robert was raised in a household of significant literary resources.

7 Life His mother, to whom he was very close, was a devout nonconformist as well as a talented musician. His younger sister, Sarianna, also gifted, became her brother's companion in his later years. His father encouraged his interest in literature and the arts.

8 Life Browning was a good student, and by the age of fourteen he was fluent in French, Greek, Italian and Latin. He became a great admirer of the Romantic poets, especially Shelley.

9 Life Following the precedent of Shelley, Browning became an atheist and vegetarian, both of which later he gave up. At the age of sixteen, he attended University College London but left after his first year.

10 Life His mother’s staunch evangelical faith prevented his studying at either Oxford University or Cambridge University, both then open only to members of the Church of England. He had substantial musical ability and composed arrangements of various songs.

11 Life In 1845, Browning met Elizabeth Barrett, who lived as a semi-invalid in her father's house in Wimpole Street. Gradually a significant romance developed between them, leading to their secret marriage and flight on 12 September 1846.

12 Life The marriage was initially secret because Elizabeth's father disapproved of marriage for any of his children. From the time of their marriage, the Brownings lived in Italy, first in Pisa, and then, within a year, finding an apartment in Florence at Casa Guidi

13 Life Their only child, Robert Wiedemann Barrett Browning, nicknamed "Penini" or "Pen", was born in 1849. In these years Browning was fascinated by and learned hugely from the art and atmosphere of Italy.

14 Life He would, in later life, say that 'Italy was my university'. Browning also bought a home in Asolo, in the Veneto outside Venice, and in a cruel irony he died on the day that the Town Council approved the purchase.His wife died in 1861.

15 Life Browning's poetry was known to the cognoscenti from fairly early on in his life, but he remained relatively obscure as a poet till his middle age. (In the middle of the century, Tennyson was much better known).

16 Life In Florence he worked on the poems that eventually comprised his two-volume Men and Women, for which he is now well known; in 1855, however, when these were published, they made little impact.

17 Life It was only after his wife's death, in 1861, when he returned to England and became part of the London literary scene, that his reputation started to take off.

18 Life In 1868, after five years work, he completed and published the long blank- verse poem The Ring and the Book, and finally achieved really significant recognition.

19 Life Based on a convoluted murder-case from 1690s Rome, the poem is composed of twelve books, essentially ten lengthy dramatic poems narrated by the various characters in the story, showing their individual perspectives on events, bookended by an introduction and conclusion by Browning himself.

20 Life Extraordinarily long even by Browning's own standards (over twenty thousand lines), The Ring and the Book was the poet's most ambitious project and has been praised as a tour de force of dramatic poetry.

21 Life Published separately in four volumes from November 1868 through to February 1869, the poem was a huge success both commercially and critically, and finally brought Browning the renown he had sought and deserved for nearly forty years.

22 Life The courtship and marriage between Robert Browning and Elizabeth were carried out secretly. Six years his elder and an invalid, she could not believe that the vigorous and worldly Browning really loved her as much as he professed to, and her doubts are expressed in the Sonnets from the Portuguese, which she wrote over the next two years.

23 Life Love conquered all, however, and, after a private marriage at St Marylebone Parish Church, Browning imitated his hero Shelley by spiriting his beloved off to Italy in August 1846,

24 Life which became her home almost continuously until her death. Elizabeth's loyal nurse, Wilson, who witnessed the marriage at the church, accompanied the couple to Italy and became at service to them.

25 Life Mr. Barrett disinherited Elizabeth, as he did for each of his children who married: “The Mrs. Browning of popular imagination was a sweet,

26 Life innocent young woman who suffered endless cruelties at the hands of a tyrannical papa but who nonetheless had the good fortune to fall in love with a dashing and handsome poet named Robert Browning.

27 Life She finally escaped the dungeon of Wimpole Street, eloped to Italy, and lived happily ever after.

28 Life As Elizabeth had inherited some money of her own, the couple were reasonably comfortable in Italy,

29 Life and their relationship together was content. The Brownings were well respected in Italy and they would be asked for autographs or stopped by people because of their celebrity.

30 Life Elizabeth grew stronger, and, in 1849, at the age of 43, she gave birth to a son, Robert Wiedemann Barrett Browning, whom they called Pen.

31 Life Their son later married but had no legitimate children. It is rumoured that the areas around Florence are peopled with his descendants.

32 Life “Several Browning critics have suggested that the poet decided that he was an “objective poet” and then sought out a “subjective poet” in the hope that dialogue with her would enable him to be more successful.”

33 Life At her husband's insistence, the second edition of Elizabeth’s Poems included her love sonnets;

34 Life these increased her popularity and high critical regard so that she cemented her position as favourite Victorian poetess. Upon William Wordsworth's death in 1850,

35 Life she was a serious contender to become Poet Laureate, but the position went to Tennyson.

36 Life In the remaining years of his life he traveled extensively. Browning's later work has been undergoing a major critical re- evaluation in recent years,

37 Life and much of it remains of interest for its poetic quality and psychological insight. After a series of long poems published in the early 1870s,

38 Life of which Fifine at the Fair and Red Cotton Night-Cap Country were the best-received, Browning again turned to shorter poems. The volume Pacchiarotto,

39 Life and How He Worked in Distemper included a spiteful attack against Browning's critics, especially the later Poet Laureate Alfred Austin.

40 Life According to some reports Browning became romantically involved with Lady Ashburton, but did not re-marry. In 1878, he returned to Italy for the first time in the seventeen years since Elizabeth's death, and returned there on several occasions.

41 External links bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=Browning&GSfn =Robert&GSbyrel=in&GSdyrel=in&GSob= n&GRid=2973& owning.html

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