Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Elizabeth Barrett Browning was born in 1806 in County Durham, England. She was the eldest of twelve children born to Edward Barrett Moulin Barrett and Mary Graham Clarke. Elizabeth Barrett Browning, or "Ba", grew up in her family’s estate Hope End, Henfordshire. They were part of the upper-middle class, owning a successful sugar trade.
Elizabeth began writing at a very early age. When she was twelve her father had her first epic poem "The Battle of Marathon" privately printed (Radley 15). She referred to this work as "Pope’s Homer done over again, or rather undone" (28). Her diary at this time in her life offered glimpses into her perceptive and expressive writing style.
Three years later she became continuously ill. A doctor diagnosed her with a "nervous disorder" and gave her opium to ease her mind. She became a habitual user of opium throughout her life (17).
In 1825 she published her first poem called "The Rose and Zephyr". It was published in the November 19th issue of the "Literary Gazette". Two years later her father’s business took a turn for the worse. The family was forced to move out of the Hope End estate and to Sidmouth, Devonshire. During this period of financial trouble Elizabeth’s mother suddenly died. Elizabeth became her father’s close friend and confidant. He relied on Elizabeth a great deal. He forbade his daughter to marry because he relied on her so much.
In the years following her mother’s passing, Elizabeth had more of her works published. "An Essay a Mind with Other Poems", translations of Aeschylus "Prometheus Bound...and Miscellaneous Poems", and The Seraphim and Other Poems were published. The Seraphim was the first work published by Elizabeth in her name. The family moved often during this period. They relocated from Sidmouth to Gloucester Place in London to Wimpole Street, which later became a famous landmark. Elizabeth suffered from many illnesses at this time. In 1838 her Uncle Samuel Barrett died and left her an inheritance substantial enough to provide her with living expenses. The following year her favorite brother Samuel nicknamed "Bro", drowned. Elizabeth became depressed for some time.
The 1840s saw many famous works produced by Elizabeth. Some of these include "The Cry of the Children", "De Profoundest" and "The Dead Pan". She also published Poems. Poems contained tributes to famous poets Elizabeth revered such as Robert Browning and Henry Wordsworth. In 1845 Elizabeth received her first letter from Robert Browning. He wrote in praise of her poetry. They corresponded for several months, marrying in 1846. Their marriage was not welcome by her father. Her relationship with him was never the same. The couple made their home in Florence, Italy. In Italy, Elizabeth became interested in the country’s politics. She hoped the country would unify. She expressed this feeling in her "Poems before Congress", published in 1860 (25).
In 1849, the Browning’s welcomed...