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

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Prudent Duckling

on 27 March 2017

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

Robert Browning
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Gerard Manley Hopkins
dramatic monologues

First verses at the age of 6
Pauline: A Fragment of a Confession
, (1833) -- his first published work
a young poet
, modeled on Browning himself
the feelings of the persona too strong for a sane man
never again wrote in the 1st person!
(1835), long poem
The hero =
a Renaissance alchemist
friendship with
Wordsworth and Carlyle
Accepted on the London literary scene
“Slim and dark, and very handsome … just a trifle of a dandy, addicted to lemon-coloured kid gloves.”

-- not successful
first play,
(1837), closed after only five performances
six other plays,

none successfully produced
Turned to the
dramatic monologue
Usually in
blank verse

The speech of
a single character
in a moment of some
dramatic significance
The speaker reveals
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

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?
Imagine the situation and describe what's happening, who the speakers are, who Fra Pandolf is, etc.
The speaker is
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 representative of his future wife's family)
gives him
a tour of his house
He reveals
the portrait of his late wife
behind the curtain and describes her.
none puts by
The curtain I have drawn for you, but I
Only he is allowed to see this portrait!
’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.
Fun fact:
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

no formal education, but began writing poetry early
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
father seriously
, two years later her brother, Edward,
great shock
remained in her room
for 5 years!
, became famous
the beginning of Barrett’s relationship with the poet Robert Browning

Famous love affair
Elizabeth’s father had forbidden any of his children to marry
secretly married
in 1846
Mr. Barrett refused ever to see his daughter again
The couple settled in
Florence, Italy
1850: a revised edition of Poems = the
Sonnets from the Portuguese
, her finest work
She 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
One of the major English poets, although he did not write much
Intelligent, sensuous, delicate

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

ordained a PRIEST
4 years in parishes in London, Chesterfield, Oxford, Liverpool, and Glasgow.
burned all his poetry

“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
by a storm in the mouth of
the Thames River
five Franciscan nuns lost,
religious exiles from Germany
deeply moved
by their martyrdom
His rector's advice =
Hopkins broke his vow of silence

long and complex
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”
a set number of stressed syllables per line

FEW unstressed syllables
= the line is
heavily accentual and slow
MANY unstressed syllables
= the line
moves quickly and lightly.
The rhythm

denseness of the meaning
It often
forces the reader to slow down


THOU mastering me
God! giver of breath and bread;
World’s strand, sway of the sea;
Lord of living and dead;
Thou hast bound bones and veins in me, fastened me flesh,
And after it almost unmade, what with dread,
Thy doing: and dost thou touch me afresh?
Over again I feel thy finger and find thee.
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
Early poems:
hopeless love
for a girl he calls
a happy family man
1849: short lyric poems,
The Strayed Reveller
under the pseudonym
Empedocles on Etna and Other Poems
“Empedocles on Etna”
written in dramatic form --
a series of monologues

The hero =
a Sicilian philosopher
transient glories of human life
throws himself into the volcano!

“Sohrab and Rustum”
: son and father, who have never met. Meet in a combat, recognize each other, the father dies.
“The Scholar Gypsy”
: an Oxford student who left his university and joined a gypsy band
1857: the
professorship of poetry
a classical tragedy
A young man takes revenge on a tyrant who has killed his father and married his mother
His best poems are probably his lyrics, such as
“Dover Beach”
Obligatory (last) 9 lines for the mid-term test
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,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.
1861: lectures
On Translating Homer
Essays in Criticism
(1865 and 1888)—Marcus Aurelius, Leo Tolstoy, Wordsworth etc.
literary standards threatened by commercialism and mass education
Attacks English provincialism, or

“high seriousness”:
to write about perpetually important issues in human life
Culture and Anarchy
(1869): on politics and sociology
= "...
a willingness to question all authority
Literature and Dogma
the Bible as a supremely great literary work
shouldn't be discredited b/c of its
historical inaccuracy
A bolt is shot back somewhere in our breast,
And a lost pulse of feeling stirs again.
Thank you for listening!
"The Buried Life"
Influenced Emily Dickinson and Virginia Woolf!
an outspoken critic of social injustice
against 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
Full transcript