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Elizabeth Barrett Browning biography :


Elizabeth Barrett Browning was born on March 6, 1806 to Edward Barrett and Mary Graham-Clarke, a financially well-to-do couple who owned Jamaican sugar plantations. She was the eldest of twelve children and she, together with her siblings, spent much of their childhood at the family home in Herefordshire, England.

Her father educated her at home, but much of her knowledge can be attributed to her friendship with Hugh Stuart Boyd, a blind scholar who was also their neighbor. Although she was not allowed to go to school, she learned much by attending the tutorial lessons of her brother. At 14, she penned and published her first poem.

Several misfortunes, including the death of her mother, and the abolition of slavery, which was instrumental in reducing the family income significantly prompted the Barretts to sell their estate and move to London. The move to London had an adverse effect on her health and Elizabeth Browning often fell ill. This, however, did not impede on her writing, and her fame as a poet and critic grew.

On 10 January 1845, Elizabeth Barrett received a letter from fellow writer, Robert Browning, whose first line went: "I love your verses with all my heart, dear Miss Barrett -- I do, as I say, love these verses with all my heart...". This started a remarkable courtship that lasted for over a year. Edward Barrett looked down upon this relationship as he did not want any of his children to marry. The couple opted to elope and got married in secret on 12 September 1846. Edward Barrett never forgave his daughter.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning and her husband, Robert Barrett, moved to Italy in 1846 and lived in Casa Guidi in Florence. Her health improved vastly in Italy and in 1849, after three miscarriages, Elizabeth gave birth to Robert Wiedemann Browning, whom they fondly called Pen.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning died in the arms of her husband on June 29, 1861. She left behind several exquisite literary pieces including Sonnets From the Portuguese (1850), Casa Guidi Windows (1851), Aurora Leigh (1857), and Poems Before Congress (1960). She is, however, most known for Sonnet 43 (Love Sonnet), a poem she wrote to her husband sometime during their married life in Italy.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning is buried in the English Cemetery in Florence, Italy.


Poems by Elizabeth Barrett Browning :

Sonnet from the Portuguese XXXVIII

Sonnet From the Portuguese V

Sonnet from the Portuguese VI

Sonnet from the Portuguese VII

Sonnets from the Portuguese - XXV

If Thou Must Love Me, Let it Be for Nought

When Our Two Souls Stand Up Erect and Strong

How Do I Love Thee?



Recommended books of poetry by Elizabeth Barrett Browning :

Sonnet from the Portuguese


Book Description

"I love your verse with all my heart, dear Miss Barrett . . . and I love you too," Robert Browning wrote in January 1845, thus initiating the most celebrated literary correspondence of the nineteenth century. During their courtship, Elizabeth privately wrote a series of forty-four sonnets to Robert, which she disclosed to no one -- not even to him -- until three years after their marriage. The poems were later collected in a volume entitled Sonnets form the Portuguese. In this elegant new edition, the poems are accompanied by relevant excerpts from Elizabeth and Robert's love letters. With an introduction by biographer Julia Markus, this volume will be a valued resource for the poetry scholar and those wanting wise and lyrical guidance in matters of love.