12 Sep: Barrett ❤️ Browning

The secret wedding of poets Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning on September 12th, 1846, was witnessed by just two people. Elizabeth was so nervous about the ceremony, held at Marylebone Parish Church, that she needed smelling salts to calm her. 

Barrett was already an acclaimed poet, while Browning was relatively unknown at the time. But their correspondence, comprising almost 600 letters exchanged over less than two years, is considered one of literature’s great romances. 

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain how the Brownings’ marriage inspired their greatest works; probe into Browning’s pet name for Barrett, ‘the Portuguese’; and consider whether, contrary to all appearances, Browning may have had sinister intentions for his new wife… 

Further Reading:

• ‘Elizabeth Barrett Browning: Life, Poetry, Relationship & ‘How Do I Love Thee?’’ (HistoryExtra, 2021): https://www.historyextra.com/period/victorian/elizabeth-barrett-browning-who-life-love-poetry-relationship-robert/

• ‘What we can learn from Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s years in lockdown’ (The Guardian, 2021): https://www.theguardian.com/books/2021/feb/15/what-we-can-learn-from-elizabeth-barrett-brownings-years-in-lockdown

•’The life and work of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’ (The British Academy, 2020):

#Literature #Victorian #Romantic #Wedding #UK