literature meme | 1/5 poets | Robert Browning
His most famous poem is My Last Duchess, in which a sinister Renaissance Italian duke tells of his marriage to the duchess, and hints that out of jealousy he had her murdered, though she is clearly innocent. Unlike most of Browning’s monologues, this poem is written, very deftly, in rhyming couplets that are concealed by the sinuous movement of the lines.
The poem fascinated Henry James, who knew Browning socially, and was amazed at how bluff, bourgeois and ordinary he appeared socially, when he was such a seer in his imaginative life. James based a short story, The Private Life, on Browning’s paradoxical nature, which also fascinated Thomas Hardy, who said his public personality was that of a smug, dissenting grocer. Probably more famous for his Romance with and marriage to Elizabeth Barrett, Browning never remarried after her death. However he was linked romantically with Lady Ashburton who, when he proposed to her, said, “We entertain our artists, Mr Browning, but we do not marry them.” (via the Daily Mail)