Studium anglistiky na KAA UPOL

Barrett-Browning, Elizabeth. (1806 - 1861).

L i f e

- unusually educated for a woman of her time: studied Latin, Greek, history, philosophy, and literature

- married Robert Browning, eloped with him to Italy: deeply involved in Italian nationalist politics during the Risorgimento (= a movement to unify Italy as a nation-state)

W o r k

- early period: Romantic visionary narrative poetry

- mature period: contemporary topics of England, especially its liberal causes

- late period: topical issues of history, tradition, and politics of Italy experiencing a painful evolution into a modern state

The Seraphim and Other Poems (1838)
“The Cry of the Children” (1843):

- criticizes the exploitation of children in coal mines and factories

- uses literature as a tool of social protest and reform

Sonnets from the Portuguese (1850):

- supposedly a translation from the Portuguese language x but: her original creation

- a sequence of 44 love-sonnets written during the courtship

- records the stages of love for her husband and her private emotional awakening

Casa Guidi Windows (1851):

- a poetic sequence on contemporary Italian issues

Aurora Leigh: A Poem in Nine Books (1857):

- a blank verse 'novel': contains a multitude of characters and melodramatic plot => closer to fiction than to poetry

- the first work in English by a woman writer involving a female protagonist identical with the author => a ‘female Prelude’

- the growth of a woman poet’s mind, her conflict as an artist x woman, and her self-liberation by the poetry releasing for her the ‘elemental freedom’

- a female artistic career: a young woman committed to a socially inclusive realist art, passionately interested in social questions, and longing for knowledge and freedom

- a male philanthropic career: the protagonist's cousin becomes her helpmate in liberal causes

- plot: Aurora refuses a marriage proposal from her cousin to pursue a poetic career; rescues a fallen woman, they settle in Italy, and confront the chastened cousin

- conclusion: hope and visionary optimism

- represents social issues concerning women from the feminist point of view


(Picture: Wikimedia Commons).

  • Author

    Elizabeth Barrett-Browning. (1806 - 1861). British.
  • Work

    Poet. Author of Sonnets from the Portuguese (1850).
  • Genres

    Victorian period. Personal, social, and political poetry. 


Abrams, Meyer Howard, ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. New York: W. W. Norton, 1993.

Barnard, Robert. Stručné dějiny anglické literatury. Praha: Brána, 1997.

Baugh, Albert C. ed. A Literary History of England. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1967.

Coote, Stephen. The Penguin Short History of English Literature. London: Penguin, 1993.

Sampson, George. The Concise Cambridge History of English Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1946.

Sanders, Andrew. The Short Oxford History of English Literature. New York: Clarendon Press, 1994.


"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. / I love thee to the depth and breadth and height / My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight / For the ends of Being and ideal Grace."

From Sonnets from the Portuguese (1850).


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