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Elizabeth Barrett Browning

1806 -1861

Best be yourself, imperial, plain and true!

                                                                 —Elizabeth Barrett-Browning

Elizabeth Moulton-Barrett was born on March 6, 1806 in Durham, England. She was the eldest of twelve children of an autocratic father who forbade his children to marry. Elizabeth began writing at a very young age, publishing her first works while in her teens.

From an early age Elizabeth suffered a chronic lung ailment. She spent most of her time in a darkened room writing poety and many letters. The famous English poet Robert Browning admired her "Poems" (1844) so much that he wrote to her. They met, fell in love, and were secretly married in 1846.

Soon after their marriage they ran away to Florence, Italy, where Elizabeth began a remarkable physical recovery. In 1849, they had a son, Robert Wiedeman Barrett Browning. She increasingly took up contemporary issues including the Italian Nationalist cause, the abolition of slavery in the United States, and the position of women in Victorian society. Elizabeth died on June 30, 1861.

Many critics agree that Elizabeth's best poems appear in Sonnets from the Portuguese, a series of 44 sonnets recording the growth of her love for Robert Browning. The 43rd is Elizabeth's most famous poem. It begins, "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways."

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•  Other Poets the Lucidcafé Library
•  Books By /About Elizabeth Barrett Browning
•  Elizabeth Barrett Browning Images
•  Related Websites


  Other Poets in the Lucidcafé Library

  Books By/About Elizabeth Barrett Browning

  Related Websites

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Copyright © 1995-2016 Robin Chew
Article written by Robin Chew - March 1996