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Robert Browning: How to Know Him   By: (1865-1943)

Book cover

First Page:

[Illustration: ROBERT BROWNING]

ROBERT BROWNING: HOW TO KNOW HIM

By WILLIAM LYON PHELPS, M.A., PH.D. Lampton Professor of English Literature at Yale

WITH PORTRAIT

TO JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY WITH SINCERE AFFECTION AND RESPECT

PREFACE

In this volume I have attempted to give an account of Browning's life and an estimation of his character: to set forth, with sufficient illustration from his poems, his theory of poetry, his aim and method: to make clear some of the leading ideas in his work: to show his fondness for paradox: to exhibit the nature and basis of his optimism. I have given in complete form over fifty of his poems, each one preceded by my interpretation of its meaning and significance.

W. L. P.

[Illistration: Seven Gables, Lake Huron]

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

I THE MAN

II BROWNING'S THEORY OF POETRY

III LYRICS

IV DRAMATIC LYRICS

V DRAMATIC MONOLOGUES

VI POEMS OF PARADOX

VII BROWNING'S OPTIMISM

INDEX

LIST OF POEMS

ABT VOGLER

ANDREA DEL SARTO

APPARENT FAILURE

BAD DREAMS

BISHOP ORDERS HIS TOMB, THE

CALIBAN UPON SETEBOS

CAVALIER TUNES

"CHILDE ROLAND TO THE DARK TOWER CAME"

CONFESSIONS

COUNT GISMOND

CRISTINA

EPILOGUE TO ASOLANDO

EPILOGUE TO FEFINE AT THE FAIR

EPISTLE (AN) CONTAINING THE STRANGE MEDICAL EXPERIENCE OF KARSHISH

EVELYN HOPE

EYES CALM BESIDE THEE

FACE, A

GLOVE, THE

GRAMMARIAN'S FUNERAL, A

GUARDIAN ANGEL, THE

HOME THOUGHTS, FROM ABROAD

HOME THOUGHTS, FROM THE SEA

HOW IT STRIKES A CONTEMPORARY

"HOW THEY BROUGHT THE GOOD NEWS FROM GHENT TO AIX"

JAMES LEE'S WIFE (two stanzas from)

JOHANNES AGRICOLA IN MEDITATION

LABORATORY, THE

LAST RIDE TOGETHER, THE

LOST LEADER, THE

LOST MISTRESS, THE

LOVE AMONG THE RUINS

MEETING AT NIGHT

MY LAST DUCHESS

MY STAR

NEVER THE TIME AND THE PLACE

ONE WAY OF LOVE

ONE WORD MORE

OVER THE SEA OUR GALLEYS WENT

PARTING AT MORNING

PORPHYRIA'S LOVER

PROLOGUE TO ASOLANDO

PROLOGUE TO JOCOSERIA

PROLOGUE TO LA SAISIAZ

PROLOGUE TO PACCHIAROTTO

PROLOGUE TO THE TWO POETS OF CROISIC

PROSPICE

RABBI BEN EZRA

REPHAN

RESPECTABILITY

SAUL

SIBRANDUS SCHAFNABURGENSIS

SOLILOQUY OF THE SPANISH CLOISTER

SONG FROM A BLOT IN THE 'SCUTCHEON

SONGS FROM PARACELSUS

SONGS FROM PIPPA PASSES

STATUE (THE) AND THE BUST

SUMMUM BONUM

"TRANSCENDENTALISM"

UP AT A VILLA DOWN IN THE CITY

WHICH?

BROWNING

I

THE MAN

If we enter this world from some other state of existence, it seems certain that in the obscure pre natal country, the power of free choice so stormily debated by philosophers and theologians here does not exist. Millions of earth's infants are handicapped at the start by having parents who lack health, money, brains, and character; and in many cases the environment is no better than the ancestry. "God plants us where we grow," said Pompilia, and we can not save the rose by placing it on the tree top. Robert Browning, who was perhaps the happiest man in the nineteenth century, was particularly fortunate in his advent. Of the entire population of the planet in the year of grace 1812, he could hardly have selected a better father and mother than were chosen for him; and the place of his birth was just what it should have been, the biggest town on earth. All his life long he was emphatically a city man, dwelling in London, Florence, Paris, and Venice, never remaining long in rural surroundings.

Browning was born on May 7, 1812, in Southampton Street, Camberwell, London, a suburb on the southern side of the river. One hundred years later, as I traversed the length of this street, it looked squalid in the rain, and is indeed sufficiently unlovely. But in 1812 it was a good residential locality, and not far away were fresh woods and pastures.... The good health of Browning's father may be inferred from the fact that he lived to be eighty four, "without a day's illness;" he was a practical, successful business man, an official in the Bank of England... Continue reading book >>




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