Robert Browning

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Robert Browning

Robert Browning (7 May 1812 â€" 12 December 1889) was an English poet and playwright whose mastery of dramatic verse, especially dramatic monologues, made him one of the foremost Victorian poets.

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Robert Browning
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Robert Browning

Browning was born in Camberwell, the only son of Sarah Anna (née Wiedemann) and Robert Browning. By twelve, Browning had written a book of poetry which he later destroyed when no publisher could be found. After being at one or two private schools, and showing an insuperable dislike to school life, he was educated at home by a tutor via the resources of his father's extensive library. By the age of fourteen he was fluent in French, Greek, Italian and Latin. He became a great admirer of the Romantic poets, especially Shelley.

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Robert Browning
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Robert Browning's Poems

Browning is often known by some of his short poems, such as Rabbi Ben Ezra, How they brought the good News to Aix, Evelyn Hope, The Pied Piper of Hamelin, A Grammarian's Funeral, A Death in the Desert. Initially, Browning was not regarded as a great poet, since his subjects were often recondite and lay beyond the ken and sympathy of the great bulk of readers; and owing, partly to the subtle links connecting the ideas and partly to his often extremely condensed and rugged expression, the treatment of theme was often difficult and obscure. The keynote of his teaching is a wise and noble optimism.

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Robert Browning's Poems
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Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning.

In 1845, Browning met the poet Elizabeth Barrett, six years his elder, who lived as a semi-invalid in her father's house in Wimpole Street, London. They began regularly corresponding and gradually a romance developed between them, leading to their elopement on 12 September 1846. . In 1849, at the age of 43, she gave birth to a son, Robert Wiedemann Barrett Browning, whom they called Pen. Elizabeth’s wrote poems too and it increased her popularity so much that she cemented her position as favorite Victorian poetess. Upon William Wordsworth's death in 1850, she was a serious contender to become Poet Laureate, but the position went to Tennyson.

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Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning.
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Robert Browning

In the remaining years of his life Browning travelled extensively. After a series of long poems published in the early 1870s, of which Fifine at the Fair and Red Cotton Night-Cap Country were the best-received. In 1887, Browning produced the major work of his later years. It finally presented the poet speaking in his own voice, engaging in a series of dialogues with long-forgotten figures of literary, artistic, and philosophic history. The Victorian public was baffled by this, and Browning returned to the short, concise lyric for his last volume, Asolando (1889), published on the day of his death.

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Robert Browning
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Robert Browning

Browning died at his son's home Ca' Rezzonico in Venice on 12 December 1889. He was buried in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey; his grave now lies immediately adjacent to that of Alfred Tennyson. Browning was awarded many distinctions. He was made LL.D. of Edinburgh, a life Governor of London University, and had the offer of the Lord Rectorship of Glasgow.

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Robert Browning
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Robert Browning

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Robert Browning
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