Victorian Poetry: Poetry, Poetics, and Politics

By Isobel Armstrong | Go to book overview

11

BROWNING IN THE 1850s AND AFTER

New experiments in radical poetry and the Grotesque

When Louis Napoleon is found to cut the knot instead of untying it - Ba approves - I demur. Still, one must not be pedantic and overexacting, and if the end justifies the beginning, the illegality of the step may be forgotten in the prompt restoration of the law - the man may stop the clock to set it right…. Ba says…the parishioners, seven million strong, empowered him to get into the steeple and act as he pleased - while I don’t allow that they were… at liberty to speak their judgment.

(Letter of Browning to George Barrett, 4 February 1852) 1

In 1846 Browning married Elizabeth Barrett and became an ex-patriot poet, living in Italy until her death in 1861. Men and Women (1855) might suggest, therefore, a decisive break with the past. The old radical formation is left behind. Politics are displaced by aesthetics, public drama by private lyrics of love. Idiosyncratic, bizarre, arcane, the language and structure of the poems could signify a retreat into privacy. But, as the above quotation suggests, Browning and his wife were intensely committed to politics, European politics. In their perpetual political disagreements, Browning always took a more radical line, as in the dispute over the coup of Louis Napoleon in 1852. It is this ‘European’ progressivism which made conservative critics in England uncomfortable.

Mr Browning has lived the greater part of his literary life in Italy. The colouring of his mind and the colouring of his work are alike Italian…. If Mr Browning had studied England and the English character as faithfully and successfully as he has studied Italy and Italian character, his position as an English poet would have been other than it now is.

This was how Walter Bagehot saw Browning, reviewing The Ring and the

-284-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Victorian Poetry: Poetry, Poetics, and Politics
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 548

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.