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Born: 6-Mar-1806 Birthplace: Coxhoe Hall, Durham, England Died: 29-Jun-1861 Location of death: Florence, Italy Cause of death: Respiratory failure Remains: Buried, Cimitero Accatolicom, Florence, Italy Gender: Female Race or Ethnicity: White Sexual orientation: Straight Occupation: Poet Nationality: England Executive summary: Sonnets from the Portuguese English poet, wife of the poet Robert Browning, born probably at Coxhoe Hall, Durham, for this was the home of her father and mother for some time after their marriage in 1805. Her baptismal register gives the date of her birth as the 6th of March 1806, and that of her christening as the 10th of February 1808. The long misunderstanding as to her age, whereby she was supposed to have been born three years later, was shared by her contemporaries and even for a time by her husband. She was the daughter and eldest child of Edward Barrett Moulton, who added the surname of Barrett on the death of his maternal grandfather, whose estates in Jamaica he inherited. His wife was Mary Graham-Clarke, daughter of J. Graham-Clarke of Fenham Hall, Newcastle-on-Tyne. She died when her illustrious daughter was twentytwo years old. Elizabeth's childhood was passed in the country, chiefly at Hope End, a house bought by her father in the beautiful country in sight of the Malvern Hills. "They seem to me", she wrote, "my native hills; for though I was born in the county of Durham, I was an infant when I went first into their neighborhood, and lived there until I had passed twenty by several years." Her country poems, such as "The Lost Bower", "Hector in the Garden", and "The Deserted Garden" refer to the woods and gardens of Hope End. Elizabeth Barrett was much the companion of her father, who pleased himself with printing fifty copies of what she calls her "great epic of eleven or twelve years old, in four books" -- The Battle of Marathon (sent to the printer in 1819). She owns this to have been "a curious production for a child", but disclaims for it anything more than "an imitative faculty." The love of Alexander Pope's Homer, she adds, led her to the study of Greek, and of Latin as a help to Greek, "and the influence of all those tendencies is manifest so long afterwards as in my Essay on
edited by Bulwer (Lord Lytton). and this acquaintance led to the appearance of rather frequent poems by Miss Barrett in the New Monthly Magazine. He was very kind. a meeting took place that had long results. Devon. H. Portman Square. "No".that with . and sate near me and talked to me as long as he was in the room.and altogether it was a dream." She was a keen student. and in his slow. published with some original poems (1833).. Robert Browning and Alfred Lord Tennyson had hardly begun to write their best. "is actually. Miss Barrett's volume was well reviewed. At this time. and recited a translation by Cary of a sonnet of Dante's -. To him she addressed later three of her sonnets. and treats the former with respect. "My Doves".. After that time London became the home of the Barretts until the children married and the father died. There is a reserve even in his countenance. she writes in this year. "Cowper's Grave".. although perhaps I should not have singled him from the multitude as a great man. "My present attempt". and other contemporary women. and it is told of her that when her health failed she had her Greek books bound so as to look like novels. and "The SeaMew". Horne. but perhaps best remembered as her correspondent (Letters to R." With Landor. 1826]. and will be considered by others. a didactic poem written when I was seventeen or eighteen. She then made the acquaintance of R. for some three years. Horne. and he was one of her chief friends until his death in 1848. of the poems afterwards famous it contained three. too. In 1832 Mr. and in 1838 the lease was taken of the final house. and in other magazines or annuals. It is in the middle of the year 1836 that Elizabeth Barrett's active literary life began. in an article on "Modern English Poetesses". criticizes The Seraphim withPrometheus. The temporary dwelling was at 74 Gloucester Place. for fear her doctor should forbid her continuous study. and no second edition was required. and brought his family to Sidmouth. she writes. At this time began her friendship with the blind scholar Hugh Stuart Boyd.William Wordsworth had ceased.. with whom she read Greek authors. "V".Mind[published as Essay on Mind and other Poems. 50 Wimpole Street. Norton. In the previous year Elizabeth had made the memorable acquaintance of Wordsworth. which a fine taste must rank high among all her works. began another of Elizabeth's valued friendships -. his eyes have more meekness than brilliancy. and especially the Greek Christian Fathers and Poets. and long repented of. 1877). "I was not at all disappointed in Wordsworth. even articulation there is rather the solemnity and calmness of truth itself than the animation and energy of those who seek for it. at the same date. H." There was at that date a lull in the production of conspicuous books of poetry. more a trial of strength than either of my preceding ones. but not popular. 2 vols. The Quarterly Review (September 1840). the first impassioned and the other two very quiet. but does not lift the author out of the quite unequal company of Mrs. There Elizabeth made a translation of the Prometheus Bound ofAeschylus. Barrett sold his house of Hope End. But the publication of The Seraphim and other Poems (1838) was a graver step. afterwards famous for a time as the author of Orion.
In early girlhood she had a spinal affection. to which he. She broke a blood vessel in the beginning of the Barretts' life in town. and when he died in 1856 he bequeathed to them eleven thousand pounds. and to him in later years was Aurora Leigh dedicated. "There are so many mercies close around me that God's being seems proved to me. At the time she only did not die. Elizabeth Barrett began also in London an acquaintance with Harriet Martineau. Dilke. who was assured of the worst after three days. she said many years later. where she spent three years. she wrote. who ever comprehended her. and for a time by her father and sisters. when the bodies were found. W. Full of the interest of friendship and literature. He was a distant cousin of the Barretts. John Kenyon also became at about this time a dear and intimate friend. One of her tasks was a part taken in the Chaucer Modernized (1841). and was thereafter an invalid -. In 1841 she returned to Wimpole Street. who with two friends went sailing in a small boat and was lost in Babbacombe Bay. as she said. She had to remain for nearly a year day and night within hearing of the sea. The accident of Edward Barrett's meeting with his death through her residence at Torquay. written for the Athenaeum under the editorship of C. demonstrated to me. of which the sound seemed to her the moan of a dying man. a work suggested by Wordsworth.Miss Mitford. and was a warm and generous friend to men of letters. of divine action. There is here an interval of silence in the correspondence which busied her secluded life at all ages. A few days before she had written. and in that and the following year she was at work on two series of articles on the Greek Christian poets and on the English poets. and her lungs became delicate. by His manifested love. the only one. and the minor accident of her having parted from him on the day of his death.by no means entirely confined to her room. until her marriage. During this time of physical suffering she underwent the greatest grief of her life by the drowning of her beloved brother. the residence in London was unfavorable to Elizabeth's health. Leigh Hunt." When the blow came. Horne and others contributed. In work she found some interest and even some delight: "Once I wished not . had published some verse. "with pettish words". but often imprisoned there. but with an impulse of self-protection she went to work as soon as her strength sufficed. Her state was so threatening that in 1838 it was found necessary to remove her to Torquay. the dearest of her eight brothers. accompanied by her brother Edward. its heavy weight and closeness to her heart convinced her. But many years later the mention of her brother's death was intolerable to her. through an awful experience of suffering. and generally a recluse. Rumors of the foundering reached the unhappy sister. From the date of the birth of their child (1849) he gave the Brownings a hundred pounds a year. increased her anguish of heart to horror. To him a great number of Elizabeth's letters are addressed. author of Our Village and other works less well remembered.
does it not?" It is in the same year that the letters first speak of the hope of a journey to Italy. and by the dedication to her. until her father's prohibition put an end to it. "I had a letter from Browning the poet last night". Browning is said to be learned in Greek.according to the medical practice of that day -. by Elizabeth Barrett Barrett. which sounds pleasantly. F. who had twice asked Kenyon for permission to visit her. and the longing became a hope. a violent piece of work. moreover. The New Spirit of the Age. "Mr. Both he and Martineau selected as their favorite poem "Lady Geraldine's Courtship".'" America was at least as quick as England to appreciate her poetry." It is in 1842 that we notice the name of Robert Browning in her letters: "Mr. with the imprisonment which -. of his own work." In this year also she declares her love for Tennyson. "which threw me into ecstasies -.Browning. In August 1843 "The Cry of the Children" appeared in Blackwood's Magazine. . but the faculty of life seems to have sprung up in me again from under the crushing foot of heavy grief. and during the year she was associated with her friend Horne in a critical work. "She says that the sound of my poetry is stirring the 'deep green forests of the New World'." She is flattered. you are the most discerning of yours. The visit was not permitted on account of Miss Barrett's ill health. The warmest praises that greeted the new poems were H. especially the dramatists. though not to "ecstasies". at about the same time by a letter from Edgar Allan Poe. Wordsworth's commendation is rather cool. the Dublin Review. she says in regard to her work on the poets.to live. without any perceptible reason for the denial of so reasonable a desire. and Haydon sent it to Rydal Mount. John Forster's in the Examiner. six years after her former book. "What is to be said. among other messages from there came in the spring letters from James Russell Lowell and from Mrs. Home the poet and Mr. she wrote her sonnet on the portrait. were lowering Elizabeth's strength of resistance against disease. scene. as she and others thought. The winters in London. She longed for the change of light.they entailed. under the title of Poems. the author of Paracelsus. I wonder. Sigourney. to death. and doomed her. rather by advice than by direct contribution. Martin. Now Haydon sent her his unfinished painting of the great poet musing upon Helvellyn." In 1842. In the beginning of the following year came the letter from a stranger that was to be so momentous to both. To Kenyon she writes. manners and language. Chorley's in the Athenaeum. when a man calls you the 'noblest of your sex'? 'Sir. she writes to her old friend Mrs. the New Quarterly and the Atlas. Letters came from Thomas Carlyle and others. and those conveyed inBlackwood. as "the noblest of her sex". Be it all as God wills. the king of the mystics. she had the pleasure of a letter from Wordsworth. "I ought to be thanking you for your great kindness about this divine Tennyson. Her two volumes of poems (1844) appeared. Browning the poet were not behind in approbation".
in her regard for his liberty and strength. in mental and physical terror. so that their father's anger might not fall on them too heavily. She soon found that they were both admirable economists. to trouble. once begun. before the birth of her child. All others were taken entirely by surprise. They were all subsequently returned to her unopened. and he at first believed her to be confined by some hopeless physical injury to her sofa. She refused him once "with all her will. in the prospect of danger. held for a time aloof. We have the strange privilege. of following the whole course of this noble love story from beginning to end. one at least of whom disapproved of her action. and there they wintered. and on the 12th of September the two poets were married in St. In October they reached Pisa. kept secret. The allusion to his poetry in "Lady Geraldine's Courtship" had doubtless put an edge to his already keen wish to know her. and day by day. most affectionate. whether in friendship or in love. and crossed to the Continent. He never lagged. but not of the wedding. Browning was reluctant to practice the deception. Browning remained in her father's house. she has recorded in the Sonnets afterwards published under a slight disguise asSonnets from the Portuguese. for fear of scenes of anger which the most fragile of the three could not face. Where she could not walk. Jameson. Robert Browning's addresses were. Elizabeth alone knew how impossible it was to avoid it. Throughout the summer of 1846 her health improved. Her father's will was that his children should not marry. Her brothers. With her sisters her relations were. had offered to take her to Italy that year. and yielded at last for his sake rather than her own. in their poverty. In the early summer they met. but much against her heart". The correspondence. Her hesitation. Browning was six years younger than the woman he so passionately admired. the prohibition took a violent form and struck terror into the hearts of the three dutiful and sensitive girls.Meanwhile the friendship with Browning had become the chief thing in Elizabeth Barrett's life. Marylebone parish church. upon a secret wedding. nor did her father ever forgive her. Jameson keeping them company for a time lest ignorance of practical things should bring them. Elizabeth's two sisters had been permitted to know of the engagement. Browning visited it on his subsequent journeys to England to give thanks for what had taken place at its altar. had not flagged. On the 19th of September she left it. kind and affectionate father though he was. up long staircases or across the waters of the stream at Vaucluse. but met her instead on her way there with a newly-married husband. taking her maid and her little dog. Among them was one she had written. But of his own wish and resolution he never doubted. as before. She never entered that home again. For a week Mrs. but that . The poet's journey was full of delight. and. He became her frequent visitor and kept her room fragrant with flowers. since the publication of the letters between the two. not that they gave time and thought to husbandry. it was she who insisted. Mrs. When she was persuaded to marry. therefore. Mrs. Browning carried her. written with tears to entreat his pardon. to burden him with an ailing wife. were never answered. Her letters. joined her husband. who had been one of the few intimate visitors to Miss Barrett's room.
which the existence of Wordsworth's sonnets renders obviously absurd. where they saw George Sand. and at about this time. In 1850 they were included. Coventry Patmore and Tennyson. For climate and cheapness they settled in Italy. with the interruptions of a change to places in Italy such as Siena and Rome. which was from that point their chief home. by degrees. were prosperous but disturbed by national aspirations. as Sonnets by E. near the Pitti Palace.they knew how to enjoy life without luxuries. "reserve to myself the finest sonnets written in any language since Shakespeare's. Mrs. The sonnets were sent to Miss Mitford and published at Reading. Casa Guidi Windows followed in 1851. and also of Carlyle. During the Pisan autumn appeared in Blackwood's Magazine seven poems by Mrs. in The Liberty Bell. Early in their residence began that excited interest in Italian affairs which made so great a part of Mrs. their beloved son Robert Wiedemann Barrett. in a new issue of poems. Mrs. Rogers.. in 1855. in 1847. So they remained to the end. he said. however. Browning resumed her literary activities. Browning's death. Browning happened to take a political fancy to Napoleon III. After this event Mrs. Visiting England in that year. Browning which she had sent some time before. with whom they went to Paris. After another interval in Paris they were in London again -. in 1848. whom she would probably have denounced if a tithe of his tyrannies had occurred in Italy. and something of Florence Nightingale. in Florence. The Florentines. A new edition of Mrs. under their final title. Browning's poems was called for in 1853. wrote Casa Guidi Windows on their behalf and as an appeal to the always impulsive sympathies of England. In 1849 was born the Brownings' only child. . the Brownings saw much of the Procters. Kingsley. she began to work on Aurora Leigh. under the government of the grand duke. A poem on the death of a friend's child appeared in theAthenaeum (1849). of her poems (1850). "I dared not". may be pardoned. choosing Florence in the spring of 1847. Browning's emotional life. She was still writing this poem when the Brownings were again in England.B. which was published in Boston. He. and there the new volumes were warmly praised. preparing a new issue. resolved to give them to the world. and the fancy became more emotional in later years. and to Paris and England. Tennyson there read to them his newly-written Maud. It was at Pisa that Robert Browning first saw the Sonnets from the Portuguese. with some additions." The judgment. and separately in England in 1849. poems which his wife had written in secret and had no thought of publishing. Browning. and where they passed the December days of the coup d'état. John Ruskin. frugal and content with little. "The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim Point". In the summer of 1847 the Brownings left their temporary dwelling in Florence and took the apartment in Casa Guidi. At Pisa also she wrote and sent to America a poem. and the publication of which at that moment disturbed her as likely to hurt her father by an apparent reference to her own story. and remaining there.B. until Mrs.Mrs.
The last blow she had to endure was the death of her sister Henrietta. and afterwards included in Poems before Congress (1860). and in a few minutes she died in my arms. Thank God. Her husband. and like her was unforgiven. that in the North British by Coventry Patmore. wrote to Miss Blagden: "Then came what my heart will keep till I see her again and longer -. where Nathaniel Hawthorne and his family were among the Brownings' friends. In October 1856 the Brownings returned to their Florentine home. Browning addressed a petition. In 1857 Mrs. was published in the Athenaeum in September. whereas it was aimed at America and her slavery. in the same year. In 1858 occurred another visit to Paris. At Siena and Florence this year the Brownings were very kind to Landor. and her fragile health suffered. On the 30th of June 1861 Elizabeth Barrett Browning died. however. her last volume.the most perfect expression of her love to me within my whole knowledge of her. nor acute pain. Venice and Rome were left unannexed to the kingdom of Italy. a second edition was required in a fortnight. In 1857 Mrs. "A Tale of Villafranca". unreconciled. and did not give way when. among others. Mrs. A Curse for a Nation being mistaken for a denunciation of England. Something has been said of the difference between husband and wife in regard to "spiritualism". Browning leaving her completed Aurora Leigh for publication. The Saturday Review was hard on the volume. Henrietta Barrett had married. her head on my cheek." Her married life had been supremely happy. in the form of a letter. The book had an immediate success. so was Blackwood. Browning prepared for the press this. The little book was judged with some impatience. In 1859 came the Italian war in which Mrs. committed this error. Aytoun. was a bitter disappointment. That peace. to the emperor Napoleon begging him to remit the sentence of exile upon Victor Hugo. a third a few months later. by the peace of Villafranca. Browning's father died. knew no bounds. The review in Blackwood was written by W. and another to Rome. and there Mrs. old. Then followed another long visit to Rome. the Atlas and Daily News favorable. and the French frontiers were "rectified" by the withdrawal from that kingdom of Savoy and Nice. who tended her alone on the night of her decease. nor consciousness of separation. solitary. Napoleon III. Her admiration of Italy's champion.. We do not hear of any reply. The Athenaeum. in . like her sister. E. In the fourth edition (1859) several corrections were made. and ill. There was no lingering.Browning for the last time. and with a face like a girl's. She was with her dear cousin Kenyon during the last months of his life. In July 1860 was published "A Musical Instrument" in the young Cornhill Magazine. Browning's poem. but God took her to himself as you would lift a sleeping child from a dark uneasy bed into your arms and the light. Mrs. Browning's hasty sympathies were hotly engaged. happily. edited by the author's friend William Makepeace Thackeray.. Always smilingly.
and this end of fifteen months is just fifteen times better and brighter. 1849) . and even over-abundant. It is intellectually restless. It is just as if the sun rose again at 7 o'clock PM. She seldom has composure or repose. of free and deliberate choice. thoughts. 1857) Mother: Mary Graham-Clarke (d. of spirituality. the mystical 'moon' growing larger and larger till scarcely room is left for any stars at all: the only differences which have touched me being the more and more happiness. if not great. 12-Sep-1846. exceedingly active. Browning had interest and faith. a fervent heart. Jameson] who saw the beginning with us. Her Greek training taught her little of the economy that such a poetic education is held to impose. but no division ever interrupted their entirely perfect affection and happiness. under a tomb designed by their friend Frederick Leighton." "I must say to you [Mrs. 1832) Brother: Edward Barrett (d. is not hers. Surely nobody was ever so happy before. eloped) Son: Robert Wiedermann Barrett Browning (b. to the fulfilment of the brightest dream which should exclude me in any possible world." "I am still doubtful whether all the brightness can be meant for me. Her gentler work. but it is not true that her poetry is purely emotional. It is full of abundant. Pone questa lapide Firenze grata 1861. che in cuore di donna conciliava scienza di dotto e spirito di poeta. 1860) Husband: Robert Browning (poet. she "dashed". is beyond praise. She had an original genius.. and of ardor that makes her name a splendid one in the history of an incomparable literature. drowning) Sister: Henrietta (d. this life of mine." Browning buried his wife in Florence. not by reason of feminine weakness. e face del suo verso aureo annello fra Italia e Inghilterra. The place of Elizabeth Barrett Browning in English literature is high.. to be allowed to sit only an hour a day by my side." In 1866 Robert Browning published a volume of selections from his wife's works. On the wall of Casa Guidi is placed the inscription: "Qui scrisse e morì Elisabetta Barrett Browning. as in the Sonnets from the Portuguese. m. Father: Edward Barrett Moulton (d. such as Wordsworth's.which Mrs. "He preferred. There is in her poetic personality a glory of righteousness. but as it were to prove her possession of masculine strength. and an intellect that was. if not upon the summits. Of her husband's love for her she wrote at the time of her marriage. Nor did she apparently seek to attain those heights. The impassioned peace of the greatest poetry." "I take it for pure magic.
however. re-published with additions in 1869). daughter of R. in which. on the 29th of November 1832. in the Commonwealth and collected as Hospital Sketches (1863. Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. Emerson. was the daughter of Amos Bronson Alcott. W. MA Cause of death: unspecified Remains: Buried. for six weeks in 1862-1863. PA Died: 6-Mar-1888 Location of death: Boston. to the rapid production of stories for girls. Beth and Amy (1868). D.Louisa May Alcott Born: 29-Nov-1832 Birthplace: Germantown. revised and published. and she was nurse in the Union Hospital at Georgetown. MA Gender: Female Race or Ethnicity: White Sexual orientation: Matter of Dispute  Occupation: Author Nationality: United States Executive summary: Little Women American author. was born in Germantown. Jo. She began work at an early age as an occasional teacher and as a writer -.her first book was Flower Fables (1854). with the exception of the cheery tale entitled Work (1873). Concord. she put into story form many of the sayings and doings of herself and sisters. a novel (1864). Pennsylvania. displayed some power of observation and record. Her home letters. and Moods.. gave considerable promise. with unfailing humour. Massachusetts. Little Men (1871) similarly treated the character and ways of her nephews in the Orchard House in Concord. freshness and lifelikeness. which attracted little notice. and. now part of Philadelphia. Her success dated from the appearance of the first series of Little Women: or Meg. she did not return to the more ambitious fields of the novelist.C. tales originally written for Ellen. in which Miss Alcott's industry had now . despite its uncertainty of method and of touch. In 1860 she began writing for the Atlantic Monthly. and though of New England parentage and residence. She soon turned. and the anonymous novelette A Modern Mephistopheles (1877).
and in her girlhood and early womanhood she had fully shared the trials and poverty incident to the life of a peripatetic idealist. but most of her later volumes. two days after the death of her father in the same city. of which the author's large and loyal public never wearied. Her natural love of labor. the experiences of her family during an experiment towards communistic "plain living and high thinking" at "Fruitlands.. Rose in Bloom (1876). 18711879).. in 1843.. Miss Alcott's early education had partly been given by the naturalist Thoreau. 1799.established her parents and other members of the Alcott family. Massachusetts." afterwards reprinted in the volume Silver Pitchers (1876). her quick perception and her fondness for sharing with her many readers that cheery humour which radiated from her personality and her books. and at last she succumbed to overwork. An Old-Fashioned Girl (1870). she narrated. 1883: "I am more than half-persuaded that I am a man's soul. led her to produce stories of a diminishing value. b." in the town of Harvard. In a newspaper sketch entitled "Transcendental Wild Oats. 1888) Mother: Abigail "Abba" May Sister: Elizabeth Sewell Alcott http://www. d. Aunt Jo's Scrap Bag (6 vols.. dying in Boston on the 6th of March 1888. her wide-reaching generosity. put by some freak of nature into a woman's body." Father: Bronson Alcott (author. but had chiefly been in the hands of her father.com/people/607/000031514/ .  Interview with Louise Chandler Moulton.nndb. which showed what her literary powers might have been if freed from drudgery. &c. because I have fallen in love in my life with so many pretty girls and never once the least bit with any man. with a delicate humour. followed in the line of Little Women. It is now believed that Alcott actually died from accumulated mercury poisoning.
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