Dared and Done: The Marriage of Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning

Julia Markus, Author Alfred A. Knopf $32.5 (382p) ISBN 978-0-679-41602-9
Defying her tyrannical father and in spite of poor health due to lung disease, English poet Elizabeth Barrett married poet-playwright Robert Browning in 1846 after a secret courtship, and they spent the next 15 years in Italy until her death. Elizabeth wrote great love sonnets, the proto-feminist novel in verse, Aurora Leigh, and fiery political poems condemning American slavery or supporting Italian unification. But illness and habitual depression took their toll. Robert, who during their marriage produced his breakthrough book of poems, Men and Women, witnessed the long decline of the great love of his life and he never remarried in 28 years of widowerhood. Markus, a novelist and head of Hofstra University's creative writing department in New York, has written a moving dual biography that peels away the myth and sentiment surrounding this union. She also delves into the Brownings' West Indies background. Pro-abolitionist Elizabeth's great-grandfather was a wealthy slaveholder in Jamaica, and the poet believed she had African blood. Robert's grandmother was Creole with claims to plantations in St. Kitts. Photos. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/02/1995
Release date: 01/01/1995
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 390 pages - 978-0-8214-1246-6
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-7475-3075-6
Open Ebook - 295 pages - 978-0-307-83297-9
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