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Life of Robert Browning   By: (1856-1905)

Book cover

First Page:

"Great Writers."

EDITED BY ERIC ROBERTSON AND FRANK T. MARZIALS.

LIFE OF BROWNING.

FOR FULL LIST OF THE VOLUMES IN THIS SERIES, SEE CATALOGUE AT END OF BOOK

LIFE

OF

ROBERT BROWNING

BY

WILLIAM SHARP.

LONDON WALTER SCOTT, LIMITED PATERNOSTER SQUARE 1897

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I.

London, Robert Browning's birthplace; his immediate predecessors and contemporaries in literature, art, and music; born May 7th, 1812; origin of the Browning family; assertions as to its Semitic connection apparently groundless; the poet a putative descendant of the Captain Micaiah Browning mentioned by Macaulay; Robert Browning's mother of Scottish and German origin; his father a man of exceptional powers, artist, poet, critic, student; Mr. Browning's opinion of his son's writings; the home in Camberwell; Robert Browning's childhood; concerning his optimism; his fondness for Carravaggio's "Andromeda and Perseus"; his poetic precocity; origin of "The Flight of the Duchess"; writes Byronic verse; is sent to school at Peckham; his holiday afternoons; sees London by night, from Herne Hill; the significance of the spectacle to him. Page 11.

CHAPTER II.

He wishes to be a poet; writes in the style of Byron and Pope; the "Death of Harold"; his poems, written when twelve years old, shown to Miss Flower; the Rev. W.J. Fox's criticisms on them; he comes across Shelley's "Dæmon of the World"; Mrs. Browning procures Shelley's poems, also those of Keats, for her son; the perusal of these volumes proves an important event in his poetic development; he leaves school when fourteen years old, and studies at home under a tutor; attends a few lectures at University College, 1829 30; chooses his career, at the age of twenty; earliest record of his utterances concerning his youthful life printed in Century Magazine , 1881; he plans a series of monodramatic epics; Browning's life work, collectively one monodramatic "epic"; Shakspere's and Browning's methods compared; Browning writes "Pauline" in 1832; his own criticism on it; his parents' opinions; his aunt's generous gift; the poem published in January 1833; description of the poem; written under the inspiring stimulus of Shelley; its autopsychical significance; its importance to the student of the poet's works; quotations from "Pauline". Page 29.

CHAPTER III.

The public reception of "Pauline"; criticisms thereupon; Mr. Fox's notice in the Monthly Repository , and its results; Dante Gabriel Rossetti reads "Pauline" and writes to the author; Browning's reference to Tennyson's reading of "Maud" in 1855; Browning frequents literary society; reads at the British Museum; makes the acquaintance of Charles Dickens and "Ion" Talfourd; a volume of poems by Tennyson published simultaneously with "Pauline"; in 1833 he commences his travels; goes to Russia; the sole record of his experiences there to be found in the poem "Ivàn Ivànovitch," published in Dramatic Idyls , 1879; his acquaintance with Mazzini; Browning goes to Italy; visits Asolo, whence he drew hints for "Sordello" and "Pippa Passes"; in 1834 he returns to Camberwell; in autumn of 1834 and winter of 1835 commences "Sordello," writes "Paracelsus," and one or two short poems; his love for Venice; a new voice audible in "Johannes Agricola" and "Porphyria"; "Paracelsus," published in 1835; his own explanation of it; his love of walking in the dark; some of "Paracelsus" and of "Strafford" composed in a wood near Dulwich; concerning "Paracelsus" and Browning's sympathy with the scientific spirit; description and scope of the poem; quotations therefrom; estimate of the work, and its four lyrics. Page 49.

CHAPTER IV.

Criticisms upon "Paracelsus," important one written by John Forster; Browning meets Macready at the house of Mr. Fox; personal description of the poet; Macready's opinion of the poem; Browning spends New Year's Day, 1836, at the house of the tragedian and meets John Forster; Macready urges him to write a play; his subsequent interview with the tragedian; he plans a drama to be entitled "Narses"; meets Wordsworth and Walter Savage Landor at a supper party, when the young poet is toasted, and Macready again proposes that Browning should write a play, from which arose the idea of "Strafford"; his acquaintance with Wordsworth and Landor; MS... Continue reading book >>




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