Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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Kelloe, Durham
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Pisces
Birthday
Birthplace
Kelloe, Durham

Elizabeth Barrett Browning was one of the most famous Victorian English poets. Her works were well-known in both England and the United States. Browning’s works made a significant contribution to nineteenth-century English poetry. She devotedly brought to light various societal issues in her writings, including child labor, slavery, and women’s oppression. Following that, she eloquently aired her political beliefs on the conflict between Italy and Austria. Browning’s contemporaries read a lot of her work. She was primarily known for her work on love poetry such as “Sonnets from the Portuguese” and “Aurora Leigh.”

Browning, Elizabeth Barrett Childhood and Adolescence

Elizabeth Barrett Moulton-Barrett was born to Edward Barrett Moulton Barrett and Mary Graham Clarke on March 6, 1806, in Coxhoe Hall, between the towns of Coxhoe and Kelloe in County Durham, England. She was the eldest of the couple’s twelve children. She was affectionately referred to as “Ba.” The Barrett family had lived in Jamaica for many years, owning sugar estates and relying on slave labor. While his money was rising in Jamaica, Elizabeth’s father chose to raise his family in England. She was baptized at Kelloe Parish Church in 1809. Her father bought Hope End, a 500-acre estate near the Malvern Hills in Ledbury, Herefordshire, in late 1809. Elizabeth obtained her schooling at home, with the help of her brother’s tutor. She was a very studious and intelligent girl during her stay at Hope End. Elizabeth has been close to her siblings and father since she was a toddler.

Publication of Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Elizabeth’s earliest recorded poem, “On the Cruelty of Forcement to Man,” was written when she was six or eight years old. The manuscript is currently housed at the New York Public Library’s Berg Collection. Her father sent her a large Homeric poem titled “The Battle of Marathon” as a present on her 14th birthday. Her first independent publication, “Stanzas Excited by Reflections on the Present State of Greece,” was in The New Monthly Magazine in May 1821. Two months later, “Thoughts Awakened by Contemplating a Piece of the Palm which Grows on the Summit of the Acropolis at Athens” was published.

“An Essay on Mind, with Other Poems,” Elizabeth’s first collection of poems, was published in 1826. With this book, she drew the notice of Hugh Stuart Boyd, a blind Greek professor, and Uvedale Price, another Greek scholar. She also translated Aeschylus’ “Prometheus Bound” after contemplating Boyd’s suggestion. Elizabeth studied Greek literature, including Homer, Pindar, and Aristophanes, during her connection with Boyd. In 1824, a court case in Jamaica on the subject of the inheritance was decided in favor of her relatives, resulting in the family’s abrupt financial decline. Elizabeth had a terrible life-threatening illness when she was 20 years old, which medical science at the time was unable to diagnose. She started taking morphine to obtain relief from the agony, and she became hooked to it over time. She became fragile and feeble as a result of her illness.

Publications & Residences of Elizabeth Barrett Browning

In 1828, Elizabeth’s mother passed away. The family first relocated to a white Georgian building in Sidmouth, Devonshire, between 1832 and 1837, where they stayed for three years before moving to Gloucester Place in London. Elizabeth was an outspoken opponent of slavery, and she published two poems named “The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim’s Point” and “A Curse for a Nation” that focused on the barbarism of slavers and her strong support for the abolitionist movement. The family was forced to sell Hope End after losing their property in Jamaica as a result of the case. The family moved to 50 Wimpole Street a few years after selling Hope End. Elizabeth met various literary giants in London at this time, including William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Thomas Carlyle, thanks to her distant cousin. “The Romaunt of Margaret,” “The Romaunt of the Page,” and “The Poet’s Vow” were among her other works.

In 1838, he wrote “The Seraphim and Other Poems.” Elizabeth moved to Torquay, on the Devonshire coast, the same year, at her physician’s recommendation. Edward, her brother, accompanied her. Elizabeth’s condition deteriorated worse after her brother drowned in a horrific sailing accident in Torquay. The family returned to Wimpole Street shortly after. Elizabeth kept in her room and did not see many people upon her return, blaming herself for her brother’s death. Despite this, poetry writing remained a significant part of her life. “The Cry of the Children” was released during this time period. During this time, she also provided some of the most important prose pieces to Richard Henry Horne’s “A New Spirit of the Age.” “A Drama of Exile,” “A Vision of Poets,” and “Lady Geraldine’s Courtship” were among the poems Elizabeth published in two volumes of “Poems” in 1844.

Getting to know Robert Browning

Elizabeth Barrett became one of the most well-known writers of her day after the publishing of “Poems.” “Poems” had such an impact that it prompted Robert Browning to write to Elizabeth, expressing his admiration for her writing. Kenyon organised a meeting between Robert Browning and Elizabeth in May 1845. The two embarked on one of literature’s most famous courtships. Despite the fact that Robert began composing poems much later than Elizabeth, he had a significant influence on her work, just as she had on his. Elizabeth’s “Sonnets from the Portuguese” and “Aurora Leigh,” two of her most notable compositions, were written after she met Robert.

Robert Browning’s relationship and marriage to Elizabeth were more of a private affair. They married in secret at St. Marylebone Parish Church in London. She emigrated to Italy in September 1846 and remained there for the remainder of her life. Her devoted caregiver accompanied the newlyweds to Italy. Elizabeth’s father, on the other hand, severed all ties with her and disinherited her, as he did with all of his children who married. The pair had a happy marriage and were well-liked in society. Browning’s health improved after her marriage, and in 1849, she gave birth to a son, Robert Wiedemann Barrett Browning, whom they affectionately dubbed “Pen.” Browning published the second volume of Elizabeth’s Poems, which included her love sonnets, at her husband Robert’s request.

Death & Decline

Elizabeth’s health began to deteriorate after the deaths of her father and an old friend, G.B. Hunter. Her lungs began to deteriorate. She then relocated to Siena, where she remained at the Villa Alberti. During this time, she wrote “Poetry before Congress,” a short collection of political poems dedicated to her husband Robert, in 1860. Following the death of Elizabeth’s sister, Henrietta, in 1860, the couple went to Rome. Her health continued to deteriorate as a result of this occurrence. She gradually got weak and despondent. Elizabeth died on June 29, 1861, due to her deteriorating health. She was laid to rest in Florence’s English Cemetery.

Estimated Net Worth

Elizabeth is one of the wealthiest poets and one of the most well-known. Elizabeth Barrett Browning has a net worth of $1.5 million, according to Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.

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