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Browning's Heroines   By: (-1941)

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Browning's Heroines by Ethel Colburn Mayne takes readers on an illuminating journey through the captivating world of Robert Browning's women. In this thought-provoking book, Mayne skillfully analyzes the profound impact and complexity of Browning's female characters, shedding new light on their significance within Victorian literature.

From the fierce and passionate Porphyria of "Porphyria's Lover" to the fiercely independent Pompilia of "The Ring and the Book," Mayne explores the diverse array of Browning's heroines, each with their unique strengths and vulnerabilities. Through her insightful analysis, Mayne reveals how these characters challenged the traditional notions of femininity and anticipated the emerging feminist movements of their time.

One of the strengths of Mayne's exploration is her expert examination of Browning's distinct narrative techniques and intense psychological portrayal. She delves deep into the minds of these heroines, unraveling their motivations, desires, and struggles against societal constraints. Mayne's meticulous observations reveal the intricate layers of Browning's poetry, inviting readers to immerse themselves in the depth and complexity of these characters' inner lives.

Moreover, Mayne's portrayal of the socio-cultural backdrop against which Browning's heroines existed adds another dimension to her analysis. By highlighting the restrictive roles imposed upon Victorian women, she contextualizes the heroines' rebellion and their pursuit of self-fulfillment. This contextualization enriches the reader's understanding of the heroines' agency, making their actions even more remarkable and empowering.

Mayne's writing style is accessible and engaging, making Browning's Heroines an enjoyable and enlightening read for both seasoned Browning enthusiasts and newcomers to his work. She seamlessly weaves together literary analysis, historical context, and personal reflections to create a cohesive and compelling narrative. With a balanced blend of scholarly rigor and creativity, Mayne's prose captivates readers, making the book both intellectually stimulating and emotionally resonant.

While Browning's Heroines predominantly focuses on the portrayal of women in Browning's poetry, Mayne also delves into the male characters who interact with these heroines. This exploration adds a fascinating dynamic to the book, providing insight into the intricate interplay between gender roles and power dynamics within Browning's works.

In conclusion, Browning's Heroines by Ethel Colburn Mayne is a meticulously researched and thoughtfully crafted exploration of the women who inhabit Robert Browning's poetry. Mayne's profound analysis of these characters, their agency, and their societal context offers a fresh perspective on Browning's enduring literary legacy. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in Victorian poetry, feminist literature, or the complexities of gender dynamics throughout history.

First Page:






When this book was projected, some one asked, "What is there to say about Browning's heroines beyond what he said himself?" and the question, though it could not stay me, did chill momentarily my primal ardour. Soon, however, the restorative answer presented itself. "If there were nothing to say about Browning's heroines beyond what he said himself, it would be a bad mark against him." For to suggest to open magic casements surely is the office of our artists in every sort: thus, for them to say all that there is to say about anything is to show the casement stuck fast, as it were, and themselves battering somewhat desperately to open it. Saying the things "about" is the other people's function. It is as if we suddenly saw a princess come out upon her castle walls, and hymned that fair emergence, which to herself is nothing.

Browning, I think, is "coming back," as stars come back. There has been the period of obscuration. Seventeen years ago, when the Yellow Book and the National Observer were contending for les jeunes , Browning was, in the more "precious" cĂ´terie, king of modern poets... Continue reading book >>

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