When studying famous poets, the name of British poet Robert Browning is sure to be mentioned. He wrote a number of famous works throughout his life.
Life and poetry of Robert Browning
Born May 7,1812, in Camberwall, England (close to London), Robert Browning was the son of an accomplished pianist and a clerk at the Bank of England. From an early age, Robert Browning was exposed to literature and poetry. His father was an avid reader and very well read, and had a library of over 6000 books and volumes.
Robert Browning himself was also well-read and very educated, mostly as a result of his family. An avid reader as well, Robert was also gifted in his studies and learned Latin, Greek, French, and Italian by the time he was fourteen years old. In 1828, at the age of 16, he attended the University of London but dropped out soon after to study what he wanted at his own pace.
As a writer, Browning began with writing verses for stage after meeting William Macready, an actor on British stage. Browning began writing dramatic monologues. He received good reviews of his monologue Paracelsus, written in 1935, and much poorer reviews for Sordello, written in 1840. Many critics complained that his references and meanings were much too obscure to be understood and enjoyed.
Browning married fellow British poet Elizabeth Barrett after reading some of her poems and sending her a letter declaring his love for her and desire to meet her in 1844. They courted via letters until they eventually married in 1846, when she was 38 years old and he was 34, and later eloped to Italy. Together, they had a son, named Robert and nicknamed Pen, in 1849.
Their union and love for each other was the inspiration for a number of both of their poems, although Elizabeth was the more popular of the two poets at the time. He dedicated his collection of works Men and Women, which is said to hold his best works, to her in She also wrote a number of poems to him in her famous Sonnets from the Portuguese.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning died in 1861, and it wasn’t until a few years after that that Robert’s work became much more well-known and successful and he became more widely known as a poet. Some of the works he wrote around this time included Dramatis Personae (1864), The Ring and the Book, a poem consisting of 21,000 lines, Balaustion’s Adventure (1871), Fifine At The Fair (1872), Red Cotton Night-Cap Country (1873), including The Inn Album (1875) and Pacchiarotto and How He Worked in Distemper (1876), Certain People of Importance in Their Day (1887), and the anthology The Agamemnon of Aeschylus (1877). Asolando: Fancies and Facts (1889) was actually published the same day he died.
Browning’s popularity as a poet was evident with the 1881 founding of the Robert Browning Society, developed by fans in England and the US.
Robert Browning died on December 12, 1889, in Italy in his son’s house. He wanted to be buried by Elizabeth in Florence, but the cemetery wasn’t taking new burials at the time. Instead, he is buried in Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey, London, England, not far from Lord Alfred Tennyson.
Robert Browning was a famous British poet known for his dramatic monologues and his love for his wife, fellow poet Emily Barrett Browning.