Elizabeth Barrett Browning Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1806 – 1861 *** Full Name: Elizabeth Barrett Browning was also known as Elizabeth Moulton-Barrett *** Date of Birth (Birthday): She was born on March 6, 1806*** Place of Birth: Elizabeth Barrett Browning was born in Kellow, Durham, England *** Family background: Her father was a wealthy man called Edward Barrett Moulton Barrett *** Early life and childhood: Elizabeth Barrett Browning grew up and spent the majority of her childhood in Ledbury and London, England *** Education: Elizabeth Barrett Browning began her education at home with a private tutor *** Elizabeth Barrett Browning died on June 29, 1861 in Florence, Italy ***
Elizabeth Barrett Browning Fact 1: She was born Elizabeth Barrett Moulton-Barrett on March 6th, 1806 in Coxhoe Hall between Coxhoe and Kelloe, in County Durham, England.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning Fact 2: Elizabeth Barrett Browning became a famous poet of the Romantic Movement. Her great literary talent made her one of the most prominent poets of the Victorian times.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning Fact 3: Her father was called Edward Barrett Moulton Barrett, and her mother was Mary Graham Clarke. Elizabeth Barrett Browning came from a large family and she was the eldest of twelve children.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning Fact 4: Elizabeth Barrett Browning's nickname was 'Ba' and she came from a wealthy family. Their financial riches came from both her mother and father's families, and partly derived from slave labour. Some of the Barrett family were Creole and had owned sugar plantations in Jamaica for centuries. However, Edward Barrett Moulton Barrett chose to live and bring his family up in Britain, whilst his wealth continued to grow in Jamaica.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning Fact 5: Edward Barrett Moulton Barrett purchased an estate known as Hope End in Ledbury, Herefordshire in 1809 which gave his family a very pleasant lifestyle. Elizabeth particularly enjoyed spending time in the gardens, riding her pony and reading books. The Barrett's were a close family and they regarded one another highly.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning Fact 6: Elizabeth Barrett Browning was given a good education. She was taught from home by Daniel McSwiney and she was meticulous with her studies. Elizabeth Barrett Browning had great literary knowledge from a young age. She loved to read books, and studied the literature and works of many, including Shakespeare, when she was very young.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning Fact 7: Elizabeth Barrett Browning began writing verses at the age of four. She wrote her first poem between the age of six and eight years. The title of her first poem was 'On the Cruelty of Forcement to Man'.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning Fact 8: By the age of twelve, Elizabeth Barrett Browning had written a long, heroic poem called 'The Battle of Marathon'. Her father, Edward Barrett Moulton Barrett, published this poem privately on her 14th birthday. The rhymed, narrative poem creates a dramatic and powerful story that retells the Battle of Marathon.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning Fact 9: Elizabeth Barrett Browning was involved in an accident on a pony when she was fifteen years of age. The accident left her with severe spinal damage. Her health was poor throughout her life as she was also plagued with a lung illness which lasted until her death. Despite suffering from ill health, Elizabeth Barrett Browning was never deterred from writing poetry.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning Fact 10: The title of one of her most epic poems was Aurora Leigh. She wrote the poem, which consisted of nine books, in 1856. Elizabeth Barrett Browning considered the novel the most mature of her works. It is set in the cities of Florence, London and Paris and incorporates her childhood hometown of Malvern close to where she grew up at Hope End. The poem is written from the viewpoint of Aurora who narrates her life from a child until she reaches around 27 years of age.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning Fact 11: She wrote Aurora Leigh in blank verse which can be described as regular metrical but unrhymed lines, and an influential type of poetry that began in England during the 16th century. The majority of English poetry is written in blank verse.Elizabeth Barrett Browning Fact 16: Elizabeth Barrett Browning met with Robert Browning in 1845 and they began a relationship. Robert Browning was hugely supportive of Elizabeth's literary works, and some of her greatest poems were produced after she met him. Some critics believe that Elizabeth Barrett Browning became a lesser version of her former self after she met him. Her father disapproved of the relationship so their courtship was kept a secret for a time.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning Fact 12: She moved to Sidmouth in 1833 as the Hope End Estate had to be sold following financial costs incurred by her father after slavery was abolished. The family lived in Sidmouth for a time and eventually settled at 50 Wimpole Street, Marylebone, London - a street which has been home to a number of famous celebrities throughout history.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning Fact 13: She wrote many famous poems at 50 Wimpole Street including 'The Cry of the Children' which opposed child labor. The poem was published in 1842 and helped raise support for the United Kingdom's Act of Parliament, The Factory Act of 1847, which became known as the Ten Hours Act. The act limited the working hours in textile mills of women and children aged 13-18 to 10 hours per day.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning Fact 14: Unlike her sisters, she wasn't expected to carry out domestic chores due to poor health, so with time on her hands, she dedicated her life to her literary works. She published two volumes of poems in 1844 which included two critical essays of The Athenaeum. The Athenaeum was a British literary magazine which was first published in England in 1828.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning Fact 15: By 1844, she had become one of the most well known poets in England. A gentleman named Robert Browning read her poetry and felt greatly impressed, he wrote the following words in a letter to her: 'I love your verses with all my heart, dear Miss Barrett."
Elizabeth Barrett Browning Fact 17: She married Robert Browning in 1846 at St Marylebone Parish Church. When her father learned of the marriage, he disinherited her. He had done the same thing to her siblings who had married. Elizabeth Barrett Browning had money of her own and she moved to Italy with her new husband where they started a family. The couple had a son in 1849 called Robert Wiedeman Barrett Browning.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning Fact 18: Whilst in Italy, she continued to publish her literary works and even introduced some love sonnets at the insistence of her husband. As a result, her popularity grew even more so. The couple became part of a highly respectable social circle of writers and artists.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning Fact 19: She died in Robert Browning's arms on June 29, 1861 following a decline in health. She suffered from health issues throughout her life which were treated with morphine towards the end. She was buried in a cemetery in Florence, Italy.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning Fact 20: Robert Browning published a collection of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's poetry shortly after her death in 1861. Her success continued to grow long after her death. She is considered one of the greatest and most influential poets of the Romantic Movement.
Influence and Legacy: Elizabeth Barrett Browning was a highly influential 19th century poet who is considered one of the most prominent poets of the Victorian times.
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