Browning and America

Browning and America

Browning and America

Browning and America

Excerpt

In these pages I have attempted to tell the story of the relation between America and Robert Browning during the lifetime of the poet: to indicate the important part America played in his life, and to show the result of his impact on the country which produced so many devoted admirers of his work. Whereas most of the biographical works on Browning are written from the English point of view, this book deals largely with American ramifications of Browning biography hitherto neglected, and might be described as a kind of biography written from the American point of view. My intention, however, has not been to write a complete biography. The primary aim of Browning and America, unlike that of the traditional biography, is not to give an account of the chief events of its subject's life, together with some estimate of his character and the value of his work. Nor is it concerned, in the manner of the newer-fashioned biography, with psychoanalysis and the revaluation of character. But, written against the background of the generally known facts of the poet's life, Browning and America is designed to supplement the standard biographical works on the great Victorian. It aims to set forth the impression he made on his transatlantic contemporaries: to show how they regarded him--both as man and as poet--and what place he held in their minds and hearts and lives. It aims, further, to give a history of Browning criticism in this country and to trace closely the growth of the poet's reputation and popularity, which, beginning with a few enthusiastic readers centering around Boston in the early 1840's, developed slowly until, at the time of his death, many a backwoods village could boast of its own Browning club.

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