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Nov 7, 2011

Elizabeth Barret Browning

The poetry of the Victorian Age is rich that produced two great poets Tennyson and Browning. There are minor poets whose contribution to literature is equally notable. Among them, Elizabeth Barrett Browning rightly occupies a central position.

It was the publication of Mrs. Browning’s “The Seraphim and Other Poems (1838)” that brought her literary reputation. After that, her ill health and the shock of her brother’s death made her broke down and was confined to the four walls of her room.

As she recovered slightly, she published “Poems” some of them were impulsive but favored by the public. One of such poems was “The Cry of the Children” which voiced the protest of humanity against the evil of child labor. This poem appealed the populace most and she became so much popular that her fame name was placed beside Tennyson and Browning. So mush so, when Wordsworth died, she was considered for the poet laureate but finally, this title was given to Tennyson.

Around 1845, she met Browning and they fell in love, eloped and married. The romance of their love is beautifully reflected in her “Sonnets from the Portuguese (1850)”. It has become the inspiring collection of love poems every student of literature would like to enjoy!

For the fifteen years, they lived very happy life. In 1856, Elizabeth Barrett published a novel in verse, “Aurora Leigh”. The hero of the novel is a social reformer which suggests Browning and the heroine is enthusiastic which suggest Elizabeth herself. The social and moral ideals of the novel reminds of the Dickens and George Eliot.

Her two poems “Last Poems” and “Poems before Congress” were published just after her death in 1861.

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