Studium anglistiky na KAA UPOL

Browning, Robert. (1812 - 1889).

L i f e

- a husband of Elizabeth Barrett-Browning

W o r k

- experiments with language: grotesque rhymes and jaw-breaking diction

- gives psychological insights in devious ways in which our minds work: self-justifying contortions of criminals, complex motives of sinners, etc.

- preoccupied with murderers, sadistic husbands, and petty manipulators

- his favourite characters: connoisseurs, artists, and thinkers

- uses characters of the past x but: problems of the present

- concerned with problems of faith x doubt, good x evil, function of the artist in modern life, etc.

- dramatic monologue: separates the speaker from the poet who merely overhears his characters in a self-revelatory soliloquy

- makes each character individual through his articulation, emphasis, pause, reiteration, and/or idiolect

Dramatic Lyrics (1842):

- his first collection of dramatic monologue poems

> “My Last Duchess”:

- a duke speaks of his wife whom he killed out of jealousy

Men and Women (1855):

- reflects his enjoyment in Italy: picturesque landscapes, lively street scenes, and monuments from especially the Renaissance past

> “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came”:

- an elusive and suggestive Gothic poem set in the Middle Ages

- the title: from Edgar’s song in Shakespeare’s King Lear (1605)

> “Two in the Campagna”:

- speaks not of ideal union x but: of distinctness and agnosticism in love

Dramatis Personae (1864):

> “Caliban upon Setebos”:

- criticises Darwinism and natural religion

The Ring and the Book (1868 – 9):

- a single poem in four volumes, culmination of the dramatic monologue

- based on a legal record of a murder trial in the 17th century Rome: a sadistic husband accuses his young wife of adultery with a priest trying to rescue her from her husband’s tyranny, stabs her to death, and is executed

- employs a texture of voices: contrasts multiple points of view of participants and spectators


(Picture: Wikimedia Commons).

  • Author

    Robert Browning. (1812 - 1889). British.
  • Work

    Poet. Author of dramatic monologue poems. 
  • Genre

    Victorian 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.


"Perfectly pure and good: I found / A thing to do, and all her hair / In one long yellow string I wound / Three times her little throat around, / And strangled her. No pain felt she; / I am quite sure she felt no pain."

From "Porphyria's Lover".


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