Death and Funeral

  • Alexandra Orr


[I]t was winter, even in Venice, and one day began with an actual fog. He insisted, notwithstanding, on taking his usual walk on the Lido. He caught a bronchial cold of which the symptoms were aggravated not only by the asthmatic tendency, but by what proved to be exhaustion of the heart; and believing as usual that his liver alone was at fault, he took little food, and refused wine altogether.


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  1. Orr’s account of Browning’s death, like many such writings of the period, attempts to minimise the suffering of the dying man. But the family (Pen, Fannie and Sarianna Browning) felt that, here as often, Orr had made him sound too weak and ill. In 1908 Frederic Kenyon, revising the Life for a new edition, substituted for parts of the original version Pen’s terse report of the facts as he felt they should have been stated. (Orr’s version is retained here.) B. R. Jerman, ‘The Death of Robert Browning’, University of Toronto Quarterly 35 (1965), pp. 47–74, gleans more precise details of Browning’s last days from sources including the Venetian diaries of Evelyn Barclay and Lady Layard.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 3.
    Evelyn Barclay, whose diary account of the period is printed in Baylor Bulletin, 31 (1932), pp. 1–10.Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2000

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  • Alexandra Orr

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