Robert Browning Responds to Edward Fitzgerald's Disgraceful Assault on Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Robert Browning

During 1887 and into 1888, Robert Browning works on revising his collected works. He completes the first 10 of the planned 19 volumes. Among the first 10 volumes is his master work, The Ring and the Book. It is widely believed to be devoted to his wife, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, in the closing lines of the first and twelfth book, where he calls upon "lyric love." Early in July 1889, Browning sees the postumously collected letters and works of Edward Fitzgerald lying on a table while he is visiting a friend. He reads through them and finds Fitzgerald's letter to William Hepworth Thompson of Trinity College and the cruel remarks concerning Elizabeth Barrett Browning's recent death. In response, 28 years after Fitzgerald composed the letter and six years after his death, Browning angrily pens and has published the sonnet "To Edward Fitzgerald" in The Athenaeum no. 3220 on 13 July 1889.

To read a related blog post, click here:…barrett-browning/

Associated Place(s)

Event date:

13 Jul 1889