Robert Browning Essay Research Paper The Life

Robert Browning Essay, Research Paper The Life and Work of Robert Browning Robert Browning was born on May 7, 1812, in Camberwell, which is now a part of London. He had no real formal education so he was largely

Robert Browning Essay, Research Paper

The Life and Work of Robert Browning

Robert Browning was born on May 7, 1812, in Camberwell, which is

now a part of London. He had no real formal education so he was largely

self educated. His father was a smart man with an extensive library.

His mother was kindly, religious minded woman, who loved music and her

brilliant son. He lived at his parents house almost until the time of his

marriage. He attended a boarding school near Camberwell and spent a

little bit of his time traveling to places like Russia and Italy. But

he preferred to have his education at home, where he was tutored in

foreign languages, boxing, music, and horsemanship, and where he read

“omnivorously.” At the age of 14 he first discovered Percy Shelly works

and was strongly influenced by it. After reading Shelly, He made the

decision to be an atheist and a liberal. But in a few years he grew away

from atheism and the extreme phases of his liberalism. The things he

learned from the books he read would largely influence his poems later in

his life.

His earlier poetry was regarded with indifference and largely

misunderstood. It was not until the 1860’s that he would at last gain

publicity and would even be compared with Alfred Lord Tennyson, another

very famous poet of the time. Some of his early poetry was influenced by

his unusual education. The poet also had an anxious desire to avoid

exposing himself explicitly to his readers. The first poem he wrote

called Pauline, was written in 1883 at the age of twenty-one, but he did

not sign it because of his fear of exposing himself to the public too much.

Since Browning did not want to expose himself too personally, he

decided to try his hand at writing plays. He was encouraged by the actor

W.C. Macready. Browning began work on his first play, Strafford, a

historical tragedy. Unfortunately, the play only lasted four nights when

it was first put on in London in 1837. For ten more years, the young

writer would continue to struggle to produce a play that would better hold

the attention of the audience, but they all remained failures. Not only

did Browning profit from this otherwise disheartening experience, but

writing the dialogue for the characters helped him explore the “dramatic

dialogue.” The dramatic dialogue, “enabled him to, through imaginary

speakers, to avoid explicit autobiography and yet did not demand that

these speakers act out the story with the speed or simplifications that a

stage production demands. ” William Irvine notes, “In Browning

monologues, murderers recollect, but do not commit, their murders”. His

first collection of such monologues , “Dramatic Lyrics,” appearing in

1842, was as unsuccessful as his plays had been.

His poem Pauline was followed by a dramatic poem called Paracelsus

which was the first poem to bring him fame and prominence with the other

literary figures of the day. In Paracelsus Browning used a Renaissance

setting, which would become a familiar motif in his later work. From 1841

to 1846 he wrote a series of poems under the title “Bells and

Pomegranates,” which included such poems as Pippa Passes, My last Dutchess,

and The Bishop Orders His Tomb.

In 1846 he fell in love with the poet Elizabeth Barret. She was

six years older than Robert and jealously guarded by her “tyrannical”

father. Because of her poor health which was made worse by the English

climate, they moved to Florence, Italy, and were married there. They

lived in a palace that would later be made famous by Elizabeth’s poem,

Casa Guidi Windows. As Elizabeth’s health slowly returned to her, she

was able to enjoy a fuller life. Robert seemed to thrive during these

years of this remarkable marriage. While they were there, Robert wrote

“Christmas Eve and Easter Day,” and a series of dramatic monologues, which

were later published collectively as “Men and Women,” which included Fra

Lippo Lippi and Andrea del Sarto which were studies of renaissance artists.

“Men and Women” also reflects his enjoyment of Italy. He enjoyed most

the picturesque landscapes and the lively street scenes that Italy had to

offer. The happy fifteen year marriage ended in 1861 with Elizabeth’s

death. After Elizabeth died Robert moved back to London. Elizabeth’s

death, however, did not stop Robert from writing nor did his writing

decrease in quality. While in London he wrote Dramatis Personae in 1864

and “The Ring and the Book,” which is regarded as his masterpiece. “The

Ring and the Book” dealt with a 17th century Italian murder trial. This

poem tells the story of a sadistic husband, Count Guido. i am gay The

middle aged Guido grows tired of his wife, Pampilia and accuses her of

committing adultery with his handsome priest. Eventually, Guido stabs

his wife and is himself executed. “The Ring and the Book” is an extended

dramatic monologue among a number of characters and has been praised as

“a perceptive psychological study.” This was the first writing that

brought Robert Browning widespread fame. In 1878 Browning returned to

Italy, where his only son was living also. During the last few years of

his life he wrote the prose narrative, “Dramatic Idylls” which he wrote in

1880, and Asolando which appeared on Dec. 12, 1889. That same day he died

in Venice, Italy. Robert Browning was buried in Westminster Abbey.

Robert Browning’s poetry is admired by two groups. To one group,

his work is, “a moral tonic.” Such readers appreciate him as a man who

lived bravely and as a writer who thought of life as one joyful battle.

He believed that the imperfections of the world would someday be remedied

by an all-loving God. Typical of this group are the Browning societies

usually regard the poet as a wise philosopher and religious teacher.

This idea is backed strongly by Robert’s poem Pippa Passes.

“God is in his heaven-

All’s right with the world”

The second group enjoys Browning’s writing not so much for his

attempt to solve problems of religious doubt than for his attempt to solve

problems of how poetry should be written. Poets such as Ezra Pound and

Robert Lowell have valued him as “a major artist.” “It was Browning who

energetically hacked a trail that has subsequently become the main road of

twentieth-century poetry.” But a lot of Browning’s poetry was

misunderstood. Although he was a very religious man and some people saw

this side of him in his writing. In truth, most people are not aware of

the existence of evil in his poems. “His gallery of villains-murderers,

sadistic husbands, mean and petty manipulators-is an extraordinary one.”

Although his wife’s reputation as a poet was greater than his own

during his lifetime, Robert Browning today is considered one of the major

poets of the Victorian era. He is most famous for the development of the

dramatic monologue, his psychological insight, and his forceful, colloquial

poetic style.

Robert Browning’s work has been puzzled over for many years. The

purpose of many of his poems are still unclear, and will never be known to

anyone but himself. He has carried the secret of his poems to his grave,

but his writings are still influencing us today.