Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806–61) was the foremost female poet of her day, to the extent that in 1850 she was mooted as a serious candidate for the Poet Laureate. With the publication in 2010 of a definitive five-volume edition of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poetry—the first full scholarly edition in a hundred years—this long-awaited collection on Barrett Browning’s work from Routledge’s acclaimed Critical Heritage series is both timely and desirable. After languishing for most of the twentieth century, critical study of Barrett has flourished over the past thirty years, focusing largely on her importance as both a female—and a political—poet.
Particularly after her death in 1861, assessments of Barrett have been bound up with gender politics, and in order to partake fully in this—and other—debates, scholars and students need to be able to consult the key primary materials: the reviews and letters which are currently scattered widely across online databases, archives in Texas and Florence, and in anthologies of letters.
This new two-volume set from Routledge brings together a careful selection from the vast number of reviews of Elizabeth Barrett and traces the intersecting issues of Barrett as both a female and a political poet. The collection is organized chronologically, drawing attention to particular trends and changes in Barrett’s reception. As well as her success in Britain, Barrett also became popular in America and Italy, and this Routledge Critical Heritage collection includes sections on her Italian and American reception, including newly translated essays currently available only in Italian.
The collection also contains passages from letters to Elizabeth Barrett which comment on her poetry, including those from, among others, Richard Hengist Horne, Mary Russell Mitford, John Kenyon, and, of course, Robert Browning. With a comprehensive introduction which highlights trends and changes within Barrett’s reception history, as well as learned editorial commentary to each section, this new addition to Routledge’s Critical Heritage series is certain to be welcomed—particularly by scholars and advanced students of Literary and Victorian Studies—as an indispensable one-stop reference resource.
Section I: 1826-1843 An Essay on Mind (1826) Prometheus Bound (1833) The Seraphim and Other Poems (1838) Finden's Tableaux (1838) Section II 1844-1850 Poems (1844) Poems (1850) Section III 1851-1860 Casa Guidi Windows (1851) American Version of Poems Including Casa Guida (1851) Aurora Leigh (1856) Poems Before Congress (1860) Section IV, 1861-1870 Poems and Last Poems The Greek Christian Poets and the English Poets (1863) Section V 1870-1900 Section VI 1901-1940