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Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806 – 1861)
|How Do I Love Thee?|
Biography of Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Elizabeth Barrett Browning was one of the most prominent English poets of the Victorian era. Her poetry was widely popular in both the UK and the United States during her lifetime.
Born in County Durham, the eldest of 12 children, Browning was educated at home. She wrote poetry from around the age of six and this was compiled by her mother, comprising what is now one of the largest collections of juvenilia extant of any English writer. At 15 Browning became ill, suffering from intense head and spinal pain for the rest of her life, rendering her frail. She took laudanum for the pain which may have led to a lifelong addiction, contributing to her weak health.
Browning's volume Poems (1844) brought her great success. During this time she met and corresponded with the writer Robert Browning, who admired her work. The courtship and marriage between the two was carried out in secret, fearing her father's disapproval. Following the wedding she was disinherited by her father and rejected by her brothers. The couple moved to Italy in 1846, where she would live for the rest of her life.
Her most famous poem is "How Do I Love Thee?"
She died in Italy on 29 June 1861 in her husband, Robert Browning's arms. He said that she died "smilingly, happily, and with a face like a girl's. … Her last word was—… 'Beautiful'"
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