Robert Browning

Essay by jef machoHigh School, 12th gradeB+, November 1997

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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...