1812 - Robert Browning, born on the 7th of May in London. Major English poet of the Victorian age, noted for his mastery of dramatic monologue and psychological portraiture. The son of a clerk in the Bank of England in London, Browning received only a slight formal education, although his father gave him a grounding in Greek and Latin.
1828 - He attended classes at the University of London but left after half a session.
1833 - First published work, Pauline: A Fragment of a Confession, although formally a dramatic monologue, embodied many of his own adolescent passions and anxieties.
1835 - Published second work, Paracelsus.
1837 - Encouraged by the actor Charles Macready, Browning devoted his main energies for some years to verse drama, a form that he had already adopted for Strafford.
1840 - Published Sordello, dealing with men of great ability striving to reconcile the demands of their own personalities with those of the world. Paracelsus was well received, but Sordello, which made exacting demands on its reader's knowledge, was almost universally declared incomprehensible.
1841 - Bells and Pomegranates, he published seven more plays in verse, including Pippa Passes.
1843 - Produced A Blot in the 'Scutcheon.
1845 - The first phase of Browning's life was near its end, the year he met Elizabeth Barrett, in her Poems in 1844 Barrett had included lines praising Browning.
- In May they met and soon discovered their love for each other. Barrett had, however, been for many years an invalid, confined to her room and thought incurable.
1846 - Followed by the pamphlet, Luria.
- They were married secretly in September; a week later they left for Pisa. Her father, moreover, was a dominant and selfish man, jealously fond of his daughter, who in turn had come to depend on his love. When her doctors ordered her to Italy for her health and her father refused to allow her to go, the lovers, who had been corresponding and meeting regularly, were forced to act.
1849 - The birth of their son, Robert, and at the same year he published a poetry only Christmas-Eve.
1850 - Published Easter-Day, an examination of different attitudes toward Christianity, perhaps having its immediate origin in the death of his mother.
1855 - Published Men and Women. This was a collection of 51 poems—dramatic lyrics such as “Memorabilia,” “Love Among the Ruins,” and “A Toccata of Galuppi's”; the great monologues such as “Fra Lippo Lippi,” “How It Strikes a Contemporary,” and “Bishop Blougram's Apology”; and a very few poems in which implicitly (“By the Fireside”) or explicitly (“One Word More”) he broke his rule and spoke of himself and of his love for his wife.
1861 - At last his wife Elizabeth's health, which had been remarkably restored by her life in Italy, began to fail. On the 29th of June 29, she died in her husband's arms. In the autumn he returned slowly to London with his young son.
1868 - 1869 - He published his greatest work, The Ring and the Book, based on the proceedings in a murder trial in Rome in 1698. Grand alike in plan and execution, it was at once received with enthusiasm, and Browning was established as one of the most important literary figures of the day. For the rest of his life he was much in demand in London society.
1871 - The most important works of his last years, when he wrote with great fluency, were the long narrative or dramatic poems, often dealing with contemporary themes, such as Prince Hohenstiel-Schwangau. Then he wrote a poem on classical subjects including Balaustion's Adventure.
1872 - Published, Fifine at the Fair.
1873 - Published, Red Cotton Night-Cap Country.
1875 - Published The Inn Album. He wrote a number of poems on classical subjects, Aristophanes' Apology.
1876 - In addition to many collections of shorter poems—Pacchiarotto and How He Worked in Distemper.
1878 - He published toward the end of his life two books of unusually personal origin—La Saisiaz.
1879 - 1880 - The two series of Dramatic Idyls.
1883 - Published another shorter poem, Jocoseria.
1884 - Published, Ferishtah's Fancies.
1889 - And finally published a shorter poem, Asolando: Fancies and Facts.
- While staying in Venice, Browning caught cold, became seriously ill, and died on the 12th of December. He was buried in Westminster Abbey.
Page last updated: 8:37am, 12th Mar '07