- Paperback: 704 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 2nd edition (January 2, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393926001
- ISBN-13: 978-0393926002
- Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #378,959 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Robert Browning's Poetry (Norton Critical Editions) 2nd Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
About the Author
Robert Browning (1812-1889) was one of the foremost Victorian poets and playwrights.
James F. Loucks is Associate Professor of English at The Ohio State University, Newark. He received his Ph.D. from The Ohio State University. He is the co-author (with Richard D. Altick) of Browning’s Roman Murder Story: A Reading of “The Ring and the Book” and is the author of articles on Victorian and twentieth-century literature.
Andrew M. Stauffer is Associate Professor of English at Boston University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. He is the author of Anger, Revolution, and Romanticism, and has published many articles on Romantic and Victorian poetry.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
With all due respects to the other reviewer, Browning is a "Christian" poet but no orthodox one. He believes in a dynamic Incarnation repeating itself throughout creation and in every moment of existence. Grace and redemption, however, are relatively foreign if not alien concepts to him--one of the reasons it's quite accurate to think of him as the most "optimistic" poet, if not author, in all English literature. Life is purposeful becoming: there's no need to mourn or forgive the past.
Also, any reader may read, or teacher teach, "My Last Duchess" without guilt. Though certain readers might find it easy or convenient to reduce the Duke to a two-dimensional character, to do so is to produce a willful or ignorant misrepresentation of him. His rhetoric alone is dazzling, complex, as obfuscating as it is revealing of his character. Moreover, the poem also has the characters of the Duchess and Envoy to evaluate, both of whom become complex in proportion to the maturity and perceptiveness of an ever-present 4th character--you, the reader (or "implied reader," as the Reader-Response crowd would designate him).
Lesson: Don't mess with Browning unless you're willing to become an active participant in the poetry which, admittedly, can involve considerable patience, time and work. Even Pound is easier, if only because he allows a reader more "wiggle room."
Are there not any books that are still stitched together?
In the introductions to poems that I've read, the editor James Loucks, perhaps to be "objective," fails to even make the slightest mention of Browning's Christianity, or how that could have affected the themes of his poems.
In Browning's earlier dramatic monologues such as "My Last Duchess," his characters are wholly villainous or otherwise two-dimensional. They don't have any redemptive qualities about them at all. However, in Browning's mature dramatic monologues, his characters have specks of redemptive qualities, and this makes them real, and even makes the characters human.
In "an Epistle Containing the Strange Medical Experience of Karshish, the Arab Physician," Karshish meets Lazarus shortly before the fall of the Jewish Temple.
Loucks says that "the title refers to an imaginary encounter between an itinerant Arab . . . long after [Lazarus] was raised from the dead by Jesus. Since the conflict experienced by Karshish -- that of positivism opposed to the will to believe -- was shared by many of Browning's contemporaries, the poem has a modern resonance" (127).
He leads the reader to believe that Browning was trying to express and maybe even uplift the belief of unbelief, to praise his 'scientific' contemporaries, yet this is far from the case.
Browning, a Christian, in part shows how the Incarnation, God becoming Man, could strongly twang the beliefs that Karshish has of God -- that the body entraps the soul, and that the soul and body are wholly separate and cannot be mixed.
I will conclude with a quote from this poem where Karshish, in a redemptive moment, briefly opens his eyes to the power of the Incarnation:
The very God! think, Abib; dost thou think?
So, the All-Great, were the All-Loving too--
So, through the thunder comes a human voice
Saying, "O heart I made, a heart beats here!
Face, my hands fashioned, see it in myself!
Thou hast no power nor mayst conceive of mine,
But love I gave thee, with myself to love,
And thou must love me who have died for thee!" (lines 304-311)