The History of Literature #95 – The Runaway Poets – The Triumphant Love Story of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning


Elizabeth Barrett (1806-1861) was one of the most prolific and accomplished poets of the Victorian age, an inspiration to Emily Dickensen, Oscar Wilde, Edgar Allan Poe, and countless others. And yet, her life was full of cloistered misery, as her father insisted that she should never marry. And then, the clouds lifted, and a letter arrived. It was from the poet Robert Browning (1812-1889), admiring her from afar, declaring his love.  How did these two poets find each other? What kind of life did they share afterwards? And what dark secrets had led to her father’s restrictions…and how might that have affected his daughter’s poetry? Host Jacke Wilson takes a look at the story of the Brownings.



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Show Notes: 

Contact the host at or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766).

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Music Credits:

Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).

“Monkeys Spinning Monkeys” and “Piano Between” by Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.


4 thoughts on “The History of Literature #95 – The Runaway Poets – The Triumphant Love Story of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning

  1. I am a loyal listener. Love the show! I am an AP English teacher and an adjunct professor at UMass Lowell. I have a question that someone asked me because of my job and I CANNOT find an answer, which kills me. I was asked to find the source for this Oscar Wilde quote: “And all at once, summer collapsed into fall.” I have searched everywhere on the web. It is almost always attributed to Wilde, but the source is nowhere to be found. Loved your show on the trials, by the way. You and Mike make a great team, by the way. I have pledged to never stop learning, and your show is a big part of helping me keep that promise to myself. Thank you!


    1. Hi Steven,

      Thanks so much for the comment! I have been trying to locate the source of this quote – it is a tricky one. I have made a few discoveries along the way but haven’t been able to nail it down. Hopefully one of our listeners will be able to offer some assistance.

      Thanks again – very glad to have you as a listener, and sorry I haven’t been able to track this one down yet.



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