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Biography of Robert Browning

Photo of Robert Browning

Robert Browning was a Victorian poet.

When and Where was he Born?

7th May 1812, Camberwell, London, England.

Family Background:

Browning was the son of Robert Browning, a clerk in the Bank of England and Sarah Anna Wiedemann.

Education:

Peckham School. London University, which he left after half a session. His father taught him Latin and Greek.

Timeline of Robert Browning:

1833: Browning is widely influenced by the works of Percy Bysshe Shelley and publishes his first major poem in a Shellyian vain, “Pauline”.

1834: He travels through Russia to St. Petersburg.

1837: First production of his play “Strafford”.

1838: Robert Browning makes his first visit to Italy.

1840: “Sordello” receives a panning from the critics.

1844: Second visit to Italy.

1845: His major work “Bells and Pomegranates” contained several pieces such as “Dramatic Romances and Lyrics” and “The Pied Piper of Hamelin”. Begins a romance with the poet Elizabeth Barrett.

The Market House, Ledbury, Herefordshire
 which would have been known to Robert Browning and John Masefield (copyright Anthony Blagg)

1846: Browning elopes with Elizabeth Barrett to marry and they travel to Italy and live in Pisa.

1847: The couple finally settle in Florence at a house called “Case Guidi”, after traveling the country.

1849: Publication of Browning’s collected works so far. Birth of their son, Robert Wiedemann Barrett Browning (later to become a sculptor) and death of Browning’s mother.

1855: Publication of “Men and Women” widely held to be his first masterpiece.

1861: Death of his wife Elizabeth on 29th June.

1862: Browning returns to London with his son.

1864: Publication of “Dramatis Personae” to popular acclaim.

1866: Death of his father.

1868: Publication of his third masterpiece “The Ring and The Book” in four volumes.

1879: “Publication of “Dramatic Idylls”.

1881: Founding of the Browning Society in London.

1888: Publication of his “Poetical Works” in 16 volumes.

When and Where did he Die?

12th December 1889 in Venice, Italy after catching a chill.

Age at Death:

77.

Written Works:

1833: “Pauline”.
1835: “Paracelsus”.
1837: “Strafford”.
1840: “Sordello”.
1841: “Pippa Passes”. “King Victor and King Charles.”
1841-6: “Bells and Pomegranates”.
1842: “Dramatic Lyrics”.
1843: “A Blot on the Scutcheon”.
1844: “Colombe’s Birthday”
1845: “Dramatic Romances”.
1846: “Luria: A Soul’s Tragedy”.
1850: “Christmas Eve and Easter Day”.
1855: “Men and Women”.
1864: “Dramatis Personae”.
1869: “The Ring and the Book”.
1871: “Balaustion’s Adventure”. “Prince Hohenstiel-Schwangau.
1872: “Fifine at the Fair”.
1873: “Red Cotton Night Cap Country”.
1874: “Aristophanes”.
1876: “Pacchiarotto”.
1877: “The Agamemnon of Aeschylus”.
1879: “Dramatic Idylls”.
1883: “Jocoseria”.
1884: “Ferishtah’s Fancies”.
1887: “Parleyings with Certain People”.
1890: “Asolondo: Fancies and Facts”.
(1896): “Collected Works”.

Marriage:

1846: To Elizabeth Barrett. (Buried in Porta a Pinti “English Cemetery”) Florence.

Site of Grave:

Poet’s Corner, Westminster Abbey, London.

Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey, London
(copyright Anthony Blagg)

Places of Interest:

LONDON:

British Library.

Further Information:

Browning Society, c/o Ralph Ensz, 4-68 Russell Court, Woburn Place, London, WC1H 0WC.

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