Browning in 1861: ‘the brain stratifies and matures creatively, even in the pauses of the pen’

  • Elizabeth Barrett Browning


Robert is looking remarkably well and young — in spite of all lunar lights in his hair. Though my hair keeps darker (with a certain sprinkle however, underneath, which forces its way outwards), I would willingly change on the whole with him, if he were not my own Robert. He is not thin or worn, as I am — no indeed — and the women adore him everywhere far too much for decency. In my own opinion he is infinitely handsomer and more attractive than when I saw him first, sixteen years ago — which does not mean as much as you may suppose, that I myself am superannuated and wholly anile,1 and incompetent therefore for judgement. No, indeed, I believe people in general would think the same exactly. And as to the modelling2 — well, I told you that I grudged a little the time from his own particular art — and that is true. But it does not do to dishearten him about his modelling. He has given a great deal of time to anatomy with reference to the expression of form, and the clay is only the new medium which takes the place of drawing. Also, Robert is peculiar in his ways of work as a poet. I have struggled a little with him on this point — for I don’t think him right — that is to say, it wouldn’t be right for me — and I heard the other day that it wouldn’t be right for Tennyson


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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2000

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  • Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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