Sunday, 10 January 2010

On this day...

Robert Browning wrote his first letter to Elizabeth Barrett in 1845, and so began one of the most famous literary relationships of all time. He started; ' I love your verses with all my heart, dear Miss Barrett,--and this is no off-hand complimentary letter that I shall write' and continued in a similar vein throughout, ending with a request for a meeting. Duly granted, the pair began a secret romance and in the twenty months that followed they exchanged 575 letters, all without the knowledge of Elizabeth's father, who had banned her and her ten siblings from marrying. Yet Barrett found solace in Browning, and indeed his courtship inspired in her a recovery from her once dehibilating illness. It also inspired some of her most famous works, notably 'Sonnets from the Portugese'; in which she expressed doubts that a man of such calibre would love a woman six years his senior. Having eloped to Itay and married, they both continued to publish exceptional works, until Barret Browning's death in 1861, and Browning's in 1889.

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