Sonnets From The Portugese

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Harper Collins, Feb 1, 1998 - Poetry - 128 pages
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"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.

  

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About the author (1998)

Elizabeth Barrett was born in Coxhoe Hall, Durham, England, in 1806. Most of her childhood was spent on her father's estate, reading the classics and writing poetry. An injury to her spine when she was fifteen, the shock of her brother's death by drowning in 1840 and an ogre-like father made her life dark. But she read and wrote, and no little volume of verse ever produced a richer return than her Poems of 1844. Robert Browning read the poems, liked them, and came to her rescue like Prince Charming in the fairy story. Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning were married on September 12, 1846. Barrett Browning's enduring fame has rested on two works-Poems (1850), containing Sonnets from the Portuguese, and Aurora Leigh (1857). The former is a celebration of woman as man's other half and the latter is a celebration of woman's potential to stand on her own. During the Edwardian and later periods, it was Sonnets from the Portuguese that embodied Barrett Browning. Since the rise of feminism, it has been Aurora Leigh. More recently, a third side of Barrett Browning has been revealed: the incisive critical and political commentator, seen in her letters. Elizabeth Barrett Browning died in Florence, Italy, in 1861.

William S. Peterson was, until his retirement in 2004, Professor of English at the University of Maryland. He is the author or editor of fourteen books (several of them about William Morris and his Kelmscott Press) and is a free-lance book-designer. He has also edited two academic journals, Browning
Institute Studies and Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America. Currently he and his wife Sylvia are compiling a census of all known copies of the Kelmscott Press Chaucer.

Julia Markus is the author of several books, including the award-winning novel "Uncle" and two previous biographies, "Dared and Done: The Marriage of Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning" and "Across an Untried Sea", which dealt with women of genius in the nineteenth century. She is professor of English and director of Creative Writing at Hofstra University.

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