Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning: A Creative Partnershipby Mary Sanders Pollock
Pub. Date: 10/01/2003
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
This volume, the first full-length comparative study of the Brownings' poetry since the early twentieth century, examines the creative partnership of Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning through a critical analysis of the poems written by this famous couple during the sixteen-year period of their friendship, courtship, and marriage. First attracted to each other by similarities in their poetry, the Brownings were both scholarly poets, and continually experimented with versification. Through their famous courtship correspondence of 1845-46, this cerebral attraction developed into creative exchange, erotic passion, and a reciprocal professional partnership. Pollock shows how, against the critical tide of the time, Elizabeth Barrett Browning became Robert Browning's most sympathetic reader and his most astute critic-and how in return, Robert Browning encouraged his wife to challenge the "poetess" stereotype by writing about the public sphere, and to risk critical censure by commenting honestly in her work about the real lives of men and women.
Even quite early in their relationship, the Brownings shared a frame of reference: similar themes, narrative structures, and details of phrasing resonate in their works and suggest dialogue, rather than merely mutual influence. Pollock traces parallels between the Brownings' lives and works even before they met, and then throughout their courtship and married life, suggesting that their creative dialogue continued after Barrett Browning died in 1861, as her presence and themes continued to inform Browning's poetry for at least a decade afterward.
This book will be of interest to scholars of 19th-century literature, as well as to those exploring the nature of close critical dialogue among working poets.
About the Author:
Mary Sanders Pollock is professor of English and director of the Women and Gender Studies Program at Stetson University, DeLand, Florida, USA.
Table of Contents
|The Nineteenth Century General Editors Preface||ix|
|List of Illustrations||xi|
|1||Art and Inexperience: 1806-1844||16|
|i.||Elizabeth Barrett Moulton Barrett||17|
|2||A Broken Poem: 1844-1846||60|
|3||Double Voices: 1844-1846||81|
|4||Browning Beside Himself: 1847-1851||103|
|5||Giotto's Tower: 1847-1851||122|
|6||A Gallery of Voices: 1851-1855||147|
|7||"What Form is Best?": 1852-1856||172|
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