Monday, April 2, 2012

April 2

An interesting letter from Miss Barrett to Mr. Boyd was sent April 2, 1842. Her essay on the Greek Christian poets has been published in the 'Athenaeum' and she is reporting to her Greek loving friend the reactions she has received:

"My very dear Friend,—... As to your kind desire to hear whatever in the way of favorable remark I have gathered together for fruit of my papers, I put on a veil and tell you that Mr. Kenyon thought it well done, although 'labour thrown away, from the unpopularity of the subject;' that Miss Mitford was very much pleased, with the warmheartedness common to her; that Mrs. Jamieson read them 'with great pleasure' unconsciously of the author; and that Mr. Home the poet and Mr. Browning the poet were not behind in approbation. Mr. Browning is said to be learned in Greek, especially in the dramatists; and of Mr. Home I should suspect something similar. Miss Mitford and Mrs. Jamieson, although very gifted and highly cultivated women, are not Grecians, and therefore judge the papers simply as English compositions.
The single unfavorable opinion is Mr. Hunter's, who thinks that the criticisms are not given with either sufficient seriousness or diffidence, and that there is a painful sense of effort through the whole. Many more persons may say so whose voices I do not hear. I am glad that yours, my dear indulgent friend, is not one of them."

There is a lot of interesting things to note here. The one negative note is from Mr. George Barrett Hunter, whose position as her singular suitor is to supplanted in a few years by the very Mr. Browning who offers approbation for her work. Kenyon must have been feeding Miss Barrett information about Browning for several years prior to them beginning their correspondence in 1845. The London literary world was very small indeed as they all seemed to know each other. Mrs. Jameson, who will be making a dramatic appearance in her life is also in on the play.

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