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Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Poet

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 in the Lucidcafé Library



  Books By/About Elizabeth Barrett Browning



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Copyright © 1995-2014 Robin Chew
Article written by Robin Chew - March 1996