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Robert Browning Biography His Life and Literature

Robert Browning Biography His Life and Literature

His Life and Literature[Robert Browning Biography]

Browning’s age was eventful, but his life had hardly any memorable event to remember. His busy intellectual curiosity and vivid interest in men were found strangely allied to a singular aloofness from the movements and momentous issues of his time. He was born in 1812, so that in the very year of the Reform Bill, he was about twenty years of age, yet scarcely a note in his writings mark his interest in that forceful erruption of democracy. Any other subsequent event,the Irish Policy, the Corn Laws, the Factory Acts, the Crimean War, the Sepoy Mutiny, or the impact of the Industrial Revolution seems to have exercised no formative influence on his mind. His poetry, infact, remains wonderfully free from the effects of whatever might have been impressive or interesting in the world around him.

Browning was born in Cumberwall in 1812. His first education was under a private tutor. Subsequently, he went to study at University College, London. Browning started his poetical career quite early. At the age of twenty one, his first work Pauline appeared anonymously. It was followed by some other works. Browning eloped with and married Elizabeth Barrett, the young poetess, at the age of thirty three. That was the only dramatic event of his life. For the next fifteen years, the couple lived in Italy, where so much of Browning’s best work was inspired and composed. After the death of his wife in 1861, he lived mainly in England. Browning died in Venice on December 12, 1889.

Browning, it has been well said, is a philosopher first and a poet next. His poetry is particularly remarkable for the high philosophy of life that it propagates. Browning, the poet, is a seer-a prophet-, and his poetical works may rightly be taken as the greatest moral and spiritual force in English poetry.

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Browning’s chief poetical works are : Dramatic Lyrics, Dramatic Romances, Men and Women, Dramatic Personae, Ring and the Book, etc.

Browning’s Poetical Genius

Browning’s age was eventful, but his life had no dramatic event, save his romantic elopement with his wife Elizabeth Barrett. He was born in Cumberwall in 1812. His father was a senior clerk of the Bank of England, but he had strong artistic and intellectual tastes. Browning might have inherited his paternal trends and tastes.

Browning started his poetical career quite early, and, at the age of twenty one, as stated already, his first work Pauline appeared anonymously. It was followed by some other works. But before his marriage, Browning’s poems received a little recognition.

It was his dramatic elopement with Elizabeth Barrett, the young poetess, at the age of thirty three, that brought about a new and glorious chapter in his poetic life. For the next fifteen years, the couple lived in Italy, where so much of Browning’s best poetry was inspired and composed.

Browning, it has been well said, is a philosopher first, and a poet next. His poetry is particularly remarkable for the high philosophy of life that it propagates . Browning, the poet, is a seer—a prophet, and his work may rightly be taken as the greatest moral and spiritual force in English poetry. There is no scepticism in his spiritual view that has an unconditional trust in God, as echoed in his poem, Rabbi Ben Ezra “My

Thy hand! Perfect the cup as planned !

times be in

Let age approve of youth, and death complete the same.” Like Tennyson, His resolute

Browning is a poet-prophet of the Victorian age. He is a prophet of hope. This hope is not for a better state of affairs, but for the bliss of heaven. It is in this belief in the happiness of heaven—in this robust optimism about the divine blessing—that the essence of Browning, the poet, is revealed.

 

Browning has not considered evil an inevitable companion of good. He rather has looked upon it as real as good. To him, evil is a condition of man’s moral progress. So he asserts

“God’s in his heaven

All’s right with the world.” 

Browning’s poetry is certainly deep. But it is difficult, too. The depth of his thought has often made his expression obscure. Consequently, obscurity has become the chief charge against him. He is, however, not really very difficult at all, although his approach may apparently be so.

speaking of Browning’s obscurity, two remarkable features must be noted in his poetry. These features are his psychological insight and dramatic gift.

In his poetry, Browning has penetrated deep into the motives, which animate human conduct. He has dissected, like a master psychologist, the inner world of men and women-their hopes and aspirations, their love and hatred. Indeed, his poetry powerfully reveals his passion for this kind of psychological analysis, in which he is almost without a peer among the poets of his race.

Again, many of Browning’s best poems are monologues—dramatic monologues. They are dramatic pieces in the first person about some vital experiences in the life of an imaginary narrator. This is, no doubt, a novelty in his poetic method, and constitutes much of the charm of his poetry.

As a poet, Browning is a controversial figure. His robust optimism, vigorous zest for life and keen sense of realism are, no doubt, highly appreciable. But his obscurity, oracular utterances, and excessive sagacity have undermined much of the merit of his poetry. Nevertheless, along with his great contemporary Tennyson, he shares prominently the chief glory of Victorian poetry.

Browning’s chief poetical works, as already indicated, are Dramatic Lyrics, Dramatic Romances, Men and Women, Dramatic Personae, The Ring and The Book, etc.

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