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Robert Browning was born in Camberwell, England, on May 7, 1812. Much of his early education came from his well-read father, whose library of more than 6,000 volumes included works in Greek, Hebrew, Latin, French, Italian, and Spanish. At the age of twelve he wrote a volume of Byronic verse entitled Incondita, which his parents attempted, unsuccessfully, to have published. In 1825, a cousin gave him a collection of Shelley's poetry. Browning was so taken with the book that he asked for a complete set of Shelley's works for his thirteenth birthday. In 1828, he enrolled at the University of London, but he didn't stay long.
Pauline, Browning's first major work, was published anonymously in 1833. In 1840 he published Sordello, which was widely regarded as a failure. He also wrote several plays, including Strafford (1837) and the Bells and Pomegranates series, but none of them were successful.
After reading Elizabeth Barrett's Poems (1844) and corresponding with her for a few months, Browning met her in 1845, and married her in 1846. The newlyweds moved to Pisa and then to Florence.
All of Robert Browning's best works were written after his marriage to Elizabeth Barrett. Collected Poems was published in 1849, the same year his son, Robert Pen Browning, was born. Men and Women, a collection of poems dedicated to Elizabeth, was published in 1855. Now regarded as one of his best works, the book was received with little notice at the time. In fact, its author was then primarily known as Elizabeth Barrett's husband.
Elizabeth died in 1861, after which Robert and his son moved to London.
Dramatis Personae was published in 1863. The Ring and the Book, based on a seventeenth-century Italian murder trial, was published in 1868, and it was his first work to receive wide critical acclaim.
The Browning Society was founded in 1881. In 1882, Browning was awarded an honorary degree by Oxford University; he was similarly honored by the University of Edinburgh in 1884.
Robert Browning died on the same day that his final volume of verse, Asolando, was published, on December 12, 1889. He is buried in Poet's Corner of Westminster Abbey.
Library >> Linguistics,
Languages, and Literatures
Literature >> 1640-1770
This page was last updated on 10/25/2017.