‘Dearest Papa would be sorry to think how much he grieved me’

  • Elizabeth Barrett


He complained first of my illegibility, then of my obscurity. ‘You can never please people [with] this want of explicitness. I told you so in the case of your Essay on Mind.’1 He then complained of my involved style and obsolete words. ‘Where did this word come from?’ ‘From Spenser.’ ‘I wish you had never read Spenser.’ ‘Your harmony is defective—you who write so much about measure — (alluding to my correspondence with Mr. Price2) — I told you by writing on that subject you would destroy your style.’ ‘The lines you complain of, Papa, were written before I wrote on that subject at all.’


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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2000

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  • Elizabeth Barrett

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