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The Brownings, M. Arnold, G. M. Hopkins

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Prudent Duckling

on 1 March 2018

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Transcript of The Brownings, M. Arnold, G. M. Hopkins

Robert Browning
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Gerard Manley Hopkins
a young poet
modeled on Browning himself
the poet’s exposure and exploitation of his own emotions

John Stuart Mill: “intense and morbid self-consciousness”

never again wrote in the 1st person!
long poem
"drama": divided into five acts
The hero =
a Renaissance alchemist
GOAL: to better himself with a strong education
first play,
(1837), closed after only five performances

six other plays,

none successfully produced
Usually in
blank verse

a single character speaks
in a moment of some
dramatic significance

The Dramatic Monologue
"My Last Duchess"
Lucrezia de' Medici, generally believed to be My Last Duchess
That's my Last Duchess painted on the wall,
Looking as if she were alive. I call
That piece a wonder, now: Frà Pandolf’s hands
Worked busily a day, and there she stands.
Will’t please you sit and look at her?
The Duke of Ferrara,

historical figure from the 16th c

At 25, married the 14-year-old
Lucrezia di Cosimo de' Medici
She died at the age of 17, presumably
addressing a guest

the portrait of his late wife
behind the curtain
"none puts by
The curtain I have drawn for you, but I"
...’twas not
Her husband’s presence only, called that spot
Of joy into the Duchess’ cheek...
She had
A heart—how shall I say?—too soon made glad,
Too easily impressed; she liked whate’er
She looked on, and her looks went everywhere.
Oh sir, she smiled, no doubt,
Whene’er I passed her; but who passed without
Much the same smile?
This grew; I gave commands;
Then all smiles stopped together.
Reveals the fault of the speaker: he ordered her killed.
Competitions to suggest unexpected second lines for poems
"That's my last Duchess painted on the wall. I've tried, but I can't scrape her off at all."
"That's my last Duchess painted on the wall. Ignore those artist's boobs, she had none at all.".
domineering father

father published
some of her works, anonymously
a nervous disorder,

headaches, weakness, and fainting spells for the rest of her life
first book under her name
The Seraphim and Other Poems,
the form of classical Greek tragedy

, brother
great shock
remained in her room
for 5 years!
, became famous
the beginning of Barrett’s relationship with the poet Robert Browning
Elizabeth’s father had forbidden any of his children to marry

secretly married

in 1846

father refused to see his daughter ever again
Florence, Italy

The Sonnets from the Portuguese

Shakespearean imagery
Petrarchan language
Died in 1861, in her husband’s arms, with
a “smile on her face”

Browning died in 1889
He was buried in Westminster Abbey
Matthew Arnold
Intelligent, sensuous, delicate


denied himself
water, tea, or any liquids =
to curb his passionate and egotistic spirit
became a Roman Catholic

ordained a Jesuit PRIEST
burned all his poetry

“I resolved to write no more, as not belonging to my profession, unless it were by the wish of my superiors.”

1868-1875 -- 7 years of poetic silence
“The Wreck of the Deutschland”
a German ship, the Deutschland
the Thames
168 victims, five Franciscan nuns lost,
religious exiles from Germany

Hopkins broke his vow of silence

The justification of human suffering = God’s means of suppressing the human ego

The goal of God's cruelty: to teach men to love Him more than themselves.
innovative technique:
“sprung rhythm”

FEW unstressed syllables
= the line is
heavily accentual and slow

MANY unstressed syllables
= the line
moves quickly and lightly
the characteristics of modern verse

turned to shorter poetry
, often
sonnet form

the beauty of nature
= a material symbol of God’s perfect spiritual beauty
The Windhover
His most famous
The beauty of a bird
which hovers in the air and scans the ground in search of prey
...My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird,—the achieve of, the mastery of the thing!

Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier! ...
A poet and important literary critic

Inspector of schools
The Strayed Reveller
under the pseudonym
Empedocles on Etna and Other Poems

“Sohrab and Rustum”
: son and father, who meet in a combat, recognize each other, the father dies.

“The Scholar Gypsy”
: an Oxford student who leaves his university and joines a gypsy band
“Dover Beach”
Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for
the world
, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain

And we are here as on
a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
ignorant armies
clash by night.
Culture and Anarchy

= "... a willingness to question all authority ..."
Literature and Dogma

the Bible as a supremely great literary work
A bolt is shot back somewhere in our breast,
And a lost pulse of feeling stirs again.
"The Buried Life"
Influenced Emily Dickinson and Virginia Woolf!
a critic of social injustice
slavery, child labor, and inequity
"The Cry of the Children"
Do ye hear the children weeping, O my brothers,
Ere the sorrow comes with years ?
They are leaning their young heads against their mothers, —
And that cannot stop their tears.
The young lambs are bleating in the meadows ;
The young birds are chirping in the nest ;
The young fawns are playing with the shadows ;
The young flowers are blowing toward the west—
But the young, young children, O my brothers,
They are weeping bitterly !
They are weeping in the playtime of the others,
In the country of the free.
Famous love affair
Had one son
Pauline: A Fragment of a Confession
Pauline, mine own, bend o'er me—thy soft breast

Shall pant to mine—bend o'er me—thy sweet eyes,

And loosened hair and breathing lips, arms

Drawing me to thee—these build up a screen

To shut me in with thee, and from all fear...
TRUTH is within ourselves; it takes no rise
From outward things, whate’er you may believe.

There is an inmost centre in us all,
Where truth abides in fullness; and around,
Wall upon wall, the gross flesh hems it in,
This perfect, clear perception—which is truth.
Browning the PLAYWRIGHT

1. what his situation is,
2. the setting of the situation, and
3. to whom he is speaking.

his own
motives and personality


to his listeners, but actually
reveals his own faults

Yes, call me by my pet-name! let me hear
The name I used to run at, when a child,
From innocent play, and leave the cow-slips piled,
To glance up in some face that proved me dear

With the look of its eyes. I miss the clear
Fond voices which, being drawn and reconciled
Into the music of Heaven's undefiled,
Call me no longer. Silence on the bier,

While I call God—call God!—So let thy mouth
Be heir to those who are now exanimate.
Gather the north flowers to complete the south,
And catch the early love up in the late.

Yes, call me by that name,--and I, in truth,
With the same heart, will answer and not wait.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.

I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.

I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,

Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
Hope had grown grey hairs,
Hope had mourning on,
Trenched with tears, carved with cares,
Hope was twelve hours gone;
And frightful a nightfall folded rueful a day
Nor rescue, only rocket and lightship, shone,
And lives at last were washing away:
To the shrouds they took,—they shook in the hurling and horrible airs.
One stirred from the rigging to save
The wild woman-kind below,
With a rope's end round the man, handy and brave—
He was pitched to his death at a blow,
For all his dreadnought breast and braids of thew:
They could tell him for hours, dandled the to and fro
Through the cobbled foam-fleece, what could he do
With the burl of the fountains of air, buck and the flood of the wave?
They fought with God's cold—
And they could not and fell to the deck
(Crushed them) or water (and drowned them) or rolled
With the sea-romp over the wreck.
Night roared, with the heart-break hearing a heart-broke rabble,
The woman's wailing, the crying of child without check—
a lioness
arose breasting the babble,
A prophetess towered in the tumult, a virginal tongue told.
She to the black-about air, to the breaker, the thickly

Falling flakes, to the throng that catches and quails

Was calling "O Christ, Christ, come quickly"...
I caught this morning
morning's minion, king-
dom of daylight's dauphin
, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon
“Empedocles on Etna”

written in dramatic form

a series of monologues

The hero =
a Sicilian philosopher

a man who can no longer feel joy
And therefore, O ye elements! I know—
Ye know it too—it hath been granted me
Not to die wholly, not to be all enslaved.
I feel it in this hour. The numbing cloud
Mounts off my soul; I feel it, I breathe free.
Is it but for a moment?
—Ah, boil up, ye vapors!
Leap and roar, thou sea of fire!
My soul glows to meet you.
Ere it flag, ere the mists
Of despondency and gloom
Rush over it again,
Receive me, save me!

He plunges into the crater.
The sea is calm tonight.

The tide is full, the moon lies fair

Upon the straits;
on the French coast
the light

Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,

Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.
long ago
on the Ægean, and it brought
Into his mind the
turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery
; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.
Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.

But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.
“Slim and dark, and very handsome … just a trifle of a dandy, addicted to lemon-coloured kid gloves.”
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