The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.
Share this review on
Sadly poetry is very much an art which has not been embraced by the 21st Century. Browning is most definately one of England's greatest poets. I do admit that I have had to study him for English literature, else I would not own this book, but it definately has some of the best poetry from the 19th century.
Known as one the romantics, the theme of love, both unconditional and unrequited, obsessive and detatched, can be seen in his poetry throughout the book. Browning write ahead of his time when it comes to women, suggesting that they are controlled too much as in 'A woman's last word'. This is probably my favorite poem of the book, fairy short for Browning, but it has some beautiful imagery and great depth. There is also 'Love in a life' and 'Life in a love', partner poems which writes from two different perspectives at losing a love. Another good set of partner poems are 'One Way of love' and 'Another Way of love'. When you learn about his life story you realise why his poems are often about love - he fell in love with Elizabeth Barrett, after writing many letters to her. They get married secretly and elope to italy. After 14years together, Elizabeth dies. Unable to live in the place they both called home, he leaves Italy and doesnt return for over 15 years. I'm a succer for romance in case you hadn't guessed!!!
This book is not solely about love though, there are some fantastic poems with some riveting historical context, like 'Saul', the biblical tale of the King saved by David's song. Also 'Andrea del Sarto', the tale of the painter and his tempestuous wife. However because of the historical context these poems can take a long time to read as you have to keep on referring back to the notes.
browning has a brilliant talent for really creating a character and their voice. 'Childe Roland to the Dark Tower came' tells the story of a knight on his final quest. Quite gory imagery but it definately works within the poem and is a must if you read poetry.
There is a lot of poetry within the book though that is very difficult to get to grips with, no matter how many times you re-read and dissect!!! There are also some very long poems which can be very boring to read.