The Life and Work of Robert Browning

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The Life and Work of Robert Browning Robert Browning was born on May 7, 1812, in Camberwell, which is now a part of London. He had no real formal education so he was largely self educated. His father was a smart man with an extensive library. His mother was kindly, religious minded woman, who loved music and her brilliant son. He lived at his parents house almost until the time of his marriage. He attended a boarding school near Camberwell and spent a little bit of his time traveling to places like Russia and Italy. But he preferred to have his education at home, where he was tutored in foreign languages, boxing, music, and horsemanship, and where he read "omnivorously." At the age of 14 he first discovered Percy Shelly works and was strongly influenced by it. After reading Shelly, He made the decision to be an atheist and a liberal. But in a few years he grew away from atheism and the extreme phases of his liberalism. The things he learned from the books he read would largely influence his poems later in his life. His earlier poetry was regarded with indifference and largely misunderstood. It was not until the 1860's that he would at last gain publicity and would even be compared with Alfred Lord Tennyson, another very famous poet of the time. Some of his early poetry was influenced by his unusual education. The poet also had an anxious desire to avoid exposing himself explicitly to his readers. The first poem he wrote called Pauline, was written in 1883 at the age of twenty-one, but he did not sign it because of his fear of exposing himself to the public too much. Since Browning did not want to expose himself too personally, he decided to try his hand at writing plays. He was encouraged by the actor W.C. Macready. Browning began work on his first play, Strafford, a historical tragedy. Unfortunately, the play only lasted four nights when it was first put on in London in 1837. For ten more years, the young writer would continue to struggle to produce a play that would better hold the attention of the audience, but they all remained failures. Not only did Browning profit from this otherwise disheartening experience, but writing the dialogue for the characters helped him explore the "dramatic dialogue." The dramatic dialogue, "enabled him to, through imaginary speakers, to avoid explicit autobiography and yet did not demand that these speakers act out the story with the speed or simplifications that a stage production demands.

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