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New book on Robert Browning
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Browning, Victorian Poetics and the Romantic Legacy: Challenging the Personal Voice by Britta Martens

Taking an original approach to Robert Browning’s poetics, Britta Martens analyses his work in relation to Romanticism and an evolving Victorian poetic culture. She goes beyond reductive interpretations of Browning as a self-effacing poet to reveal a highly self-conscious, self-dramatising and conflicted engagement with the Romantic tradition. Martens’ Browning is a poet of complex contradictions and an illuminating case study in voice, authorial authority and self-reference.

A subtle, nuanced and original new reading of Browning’s authorial identity and poetics in the wake of Romanticism, Victorian reactions to it, and nineteenth-century changes in the reading public. The author explores the complex contradictions that pervaded the poet’s responses not only to Romantic poetic modes but also to key figures of Romanticism and Victorian poets whom he associated with Romantic self-expression. In the second half of the study especially, a fascinating analysis of Browning’s negotiation of the private/public divide emerges as a significant theme. Marjorie Stone, Dalhousie University, Canada

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