Date of Award
Master of Arts
Robert Browning is one of the most popular of the English poets, in his day and ours. There are Browning Societies and Browning lovers all over the world, from England and America to Africa and South America. He is also popular with scholars. There are at least twelve biographies, three handbooks to interpret his poetry, and six or more collections of his letters to his wife and friends. What accounts for Browning's popularity? He was not a lyric poet like Shelley, nor was he a nature lover like Wordsworth. Much of his poetry is difficult and requires careful reading. Some of it is mediocre and some bad. "Irks care the crop-ful bird?" is certainly not good poetry. Why then is he so popular? Primarily it is because his poetry deals with people. We have come to know Browning as the master psychologist, an artist capable of portraying people in all situations. In a stanza or two, Browning can succinctly reveal more of a person's character and personality than many biographers in a whole page of prose
Griffin, Claudius Williams, "The portrayal of historical character in Browning's poetry" (1960). Master's Theses. 161.