The idea for this blog started after I read the letters of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett. Written during their two year courtship, I was fascinated by the setting and background of these two famous poets. I read several biographies of each of them and in many instances it did not seem that the authors of these books had read the same letters I had. Was it me or were highly respected scholars making easy interpretations guided by pop psychology? (As Miss Barrett herself was accused of having too much book knowledge and not enough knowledge of the world to succeed as a truly great poet?) This is not to say that the biographers are always wrong, after all, facts are facts. But the interpretation of these facts and in many cases the psychological motivation of the individuals involved are open for interpretation. There are many interesting and valid arguments and a lot of total rubbish out there.
One example of that I think most biographers miss is that Elizabeth was quite funny and a great teaser. I attribute this to the fact of her being the eldest sibling in a large family of boys.
What I would like to do here is comment on not only the Barrett Browning courtship letters but their other copious letters, especially from Elizabeth, in a fluid calendar. Letters from many non sequential years commented on as our year scrolls by. Also to comment on books and essays as I read them. There are a few that I have been so disgusted by there was a temptation to toss them across the room, but out of respect for the book, as opposed to the author, I have refrained from accosting the walls and breaking the backs of the books. My interest in these two poets has also lead me to interest in other 19th Century personalities who touched paths with them and I suspect that I will have comments on them as well.
I will add links to the books I refer to when possible. But keep in mind that I am not a professional writer and I do not have a webmaster or editor. I am not a great typist and my computer skills are a work in progress. If I criticise your book or essay, it is not personal, it is just my opinion. You can tell me that I am wrong. I may agree with you eventually. This is a learning experience for me. I work, so I may not post every day, but I believe that I am interested enough to post on a semi-regular basis. I also reserve the right to post on unrelated subjects as life continues on all fronts.