External nature in the poetry of Robert Browning

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Suzanne Ozment Edwards (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
H.T. Kirby-Smith

Abstract: Robert Browning is best known as a writer of poems which dramatically reveal human character. Unlike the Romantic poets, Browning seldom writes about nature as an isolated entity, yet significant natural description figures in much of his poetry. Instead of composing poems about nature, Browning typically uses details of external nature to create a setting which establishes mood and reveals character. While natural description is admittedly a subsidiary facet of Browning's art, it is of consequence because it supports his primary purpose—character portrayal. This study of Browning's use of external nature is organized around the poets, artists, and aesthetic movements that influenced him. Chapter I documents Browning's love of external nature and establishes the perimeters for the analysis of his poetry which follows. Chapter II examines the influence of Gerard de Lairesse, an eighteenth-century Dutch painter whose treatise on art Browning read as a child. Chapter III discusses characteristics of the picturesque and the sublime which surface in Browning's landscapes and natural imagery. Chapter IV explores the effect of Romanticism on Browning's treatment of nature. Grotesque natural detail is the subject of Chapter V. Chapter VI compares Browning's poetry to that of selected Victorians to ascertain the extent of contemporary influences. The final chapter, Chapter VII, attempts to account for Browning's eclectic and oblique method.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 1982
Browning, Robert, $d 1812-1889 $x Criticism and interpretation
Browning, Robert, $d 1812-1889 $x Style
Nature in literature

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