First published in 2003. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyForster's ( William Makepeace Thackeray , etc.) provocative biography offers arresting new information on Elizabeth Barrett Browning, her family and associates. The author gleaned a wealth of material from the voluminous Philip Kelley collection of Barrett/Browning letters, several predating her subject's birth in 1806. ``Ba'' was the first of 11 surviving children born to Edward and Mary Barrett. On the evidence, it was a close, caring family and remained so after the grievous blow of Mary's death in 1828. Forster poses intriguing questions about Elizabeth's treatment as an invalid and on injustices done to Edward. Afraid of losing the father she loved and needed, she lied to him about Robert Browning's courtship; and also to Robert, claiming that Edward kept her a prisoner, in isolation. He would have accepted the marriage, Forster suggests, but never forgave the couple after they eloped and fled to Italy. The book covers their 15-year marriage and Robert Browning's life with their son after his wife died in 1861. This biography is an invaluable addition to the record of the great Victorian romance. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Feb.)
School Library JournalYA-- Forster's biography presents a much fuller picture of Elizabeth Barrett Browning than was ever possible before, as it draws on hundreds of newly discovered letters and a diary written by the poet at age 26. The generous use of these sources creates a portrait of Browning that brims with life. Ever the reclusive scholar and invalid, fully prepared to trade love and marriage for the joys of the intellectual life, Elizabeth Barrett and her liason with Robert Browning at the age of 40 are legendary. The Victorian standards of life, including conditions for women and the literary climate of the times, are also revealed in this highly readable biography.-- Keddy Outlaw, Harris County Public Library, Houston
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