In 1846 Elizabeth Barrett rose from an invalid's bed to elope to Italy with Robert Browning. The secret courtship of the two poets--their long correspondence and their meetings in the shadow of Elizabeth's tyrannical father--has become one of the most celebrated romances of literary history. Based on a more intense study of the letters than has ever been attempted before, this book gives a fresh account of the powerful myth of Browning's chivalrous rescue and Barrett's miraculous recovery, examines anew the character and motivation of the three principals, and demonstrates what and important part the letters play in the interpretation of both poet's work.
'This book is a fascinating, witty and most intelligent account of one of the greatest Victorian romances of literary history as seen through these letters.' Cape Argus
'a correspondence virtually unique in literature'
`Throughout, Karlin provides stimulating insights to the self-dividedness of Browning's speakers and, more disturbingly, Browning himself... As a biographer, editor, and critic of Browing, aniel Karlin writes with rare authority, scholarship, and critical acumen. Piping hot with freshness and originality, his analyses of the poetry never fail to illuminate the texts from the inside out. Much of the persuasiveness of Karlin's criticism arises from his
integrating it stylishly and sensitively with quotations from Browning's letters, and his book is an excellent example not only of how scholarly editions of letters can be used as tools for criticisms but also
of how the best criticism arises, so often, from documentary sources.'