A major new biography of the most modern and the most underrated of English Literature's Great Victorians.
Henry James called Robert Browning (1812–89) 'a tremendous and incomparable modern', and the immediacy and colloquial energy of his poetry has ensured its enduring appeal. This biography sets out to do the same for his life, animating the stereotypes (romantic hero, poetic exile, eminent man of letters) that have left him neglected by modern biographers. He has been seen primarily as one half of that romantic pair, the Brownings; and while the courtship, elopement and marriage of Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning remains a perennially seductive subject (and one Finlayson evokes vividly, quoting extensively from their daily letters and contemporary accounts) there is far more to Browning than that.
Chronological in structure, this book is divided into three sections which deal with his life's major themes: adolescence and ambition, marriage and money, paternity and poetry. Browning explores the many experiences that inspired his writing, his education and passions, his relationships with family and friends, his continual financial struggles and revulsion at being seen as a fortune-hunter, his most unVictorian approach to marriage (sexual equality, his helping wean Elizabeth off morphine and nursing her through various illnesses), fatherhood and fame (inviting a leading member of the Browning Society to watch him burning a trunk of personal letters): all of which contribute to a fascinating portrait of a highly unconventional Victorian. At once witty and moving, this critical biography will revolutionise perceptions of the poet – and of the man.
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’Iain Finlayson succeeds in making the life accessible… Hitherto Browning has had two literary monuments, one in his poetry and another in those “courtship” letters. Now he has a third in this conscientious and thoughtful biography.’ The Times
’Browning has been fortunate in his biographers and this long new one by Iain Finlayson can be recommended… (its) intimate, trusting approach is immensely appealing. Finlayson gives us Browning in his overwhelming presence. This biography succeeded in thoroughly changing my mind. James was right: Browning is tremendous.’ Philip Hensher, The Spectator
‘One of the engaging features of Iain Finlayson's exhaustive new biography is that he tells some good stories against his man… It will be required reading for Browning fanatics.’ Sunday Telegraph
‘It is impossible to speak without enthusiasm of Browning’s open, generous nature and his great ability and knowledge. I had no idea that there was a perfectly sensible poet in the world, entirely free from enmity, jealousy, or any other littleness, and thinking no more of himself than if he were an ordinary man. His great energy is very remarkable, and his determination to make the most of the remainder of his life.’ Benjamin Jowett, 1865About the Author:
Acclaimed author and journalist, Iain Finlayson is the author of several books including Writers in Romney Marsh and a life of Boswell. He lives in Hay on Wye.
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Book Description HarperCollins, 2004. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. An EX LIBRARY copy in VERY GOOD overall condition. May have some library stamps, marks etc. Bookseller Inventory # mon0001530899
Book Description HarperCollins, 2004. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. An EX LIBRARY copy in VERY GOOD condition.May have some library identification marks/stamps. Daily dispatch from UK warehouse. This book is in VERY GOOD overall condition, showing only light signs of previous ownership. Bookseller Inventory # mon0002767268
Book Description Harper Collins, 2004. 0002555077, 2004. 1st edn. Tall 8vo. Original silver lettered black cloth (VG), dustwrapper (bumped and scuffed at head and tail of spine and on edges - in protective wrapper, not price clipped). Pp. viii + 758, illus with b&w plates (no inscriptions). Bookseller Inventory # 96536
Book Description Book Condition: Good. Book Condition: Good. Bookseller Inventory # 97800025550744.0
Book Description HarperCollins., 2004. Book Condition: Very Good. Hard Cover. Book- VG. Dj- VG. 9.5x6.5. 758pp. 42 b/w photos. Bookseller Inventory # 1723704
Book Description Harper Collins, London, 2004. Hard Back. Book Condition: Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Good. viii; 758pp; illustrated; minor edgewear to d/j. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 026160
Book Description Harper Collins, 2004. Hard Cover. Book Condition: Near Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine. First Edition. Bookseller Inventory # 002546
Book Description Harper Collins, London, 2004. Hardcover. Book Condition: Near Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine. 1st Edition. 8vo - over 7¾ - 9¾" tall. 1st imp, not price clipped, no inscriptions, D/j protected by clear removable sleeve. Very heavy book therefore may require extra postal charges. Bookseller Inventory # 03067