Men and Women and the Arts of Love

Men and Women and the Arts of Love ERIK GRAY he two most prominent topics of Robert Browning's Men and Women (1855) are love and art. The former receives less critical attention, even though, as Wendell Stacy Johnson notes, "the specific subject of love between men and women is the major one of this collection. Of the fifty-one pieces in the two volumes of Men and Women, more than half are about love and marriage."1 The conspicuous role of art and artists, on the other hand, has always attracted comment; while the volumes were still in preparation, Browning wrote to a friend, "I am writing ... `Lyrics,' with more music & painting than before," and Elizabeth Barrett Browning informed her sister Arabella that "there will be in them a good deal of Italian art . . pictures, music."2 The two topics are explicitly brought together in the final poem of the collection, "One Word More," which serves as epilogue. Here Browning, speaking in propria persona, directly addresses the relation between art and love, and in particular he considers which of the arts is best capable of expressing human passion. Yet the question of the differing relations between love and the different forms of art is not http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Victorian Poetry West Virginia University Press

Men and Women and the Arts of Love

Victorian Poetry, Volume 50 (4) – Jan 19, 2012

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Publisher
West Virginia University Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 West Virginia University.
ISSN
1530-7190
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Abstract

ERIK GRAY he two most prominent topics of Robert Browning's Men and Women (1855) are love and art. The former receives less critical attention, even though, as Wendell Stacy Johnson notes, "the specific subject of love between men and women is the major one of this collection. Of the fifty-one pieces in the two volumes of Men and Women, more than half are about love and marriage."1 The conspicuous role of art and artists, on the other hand, has always attracted comment; while the volumes were still in preparation, Browning wrote to a friend, "I am writing ... `Lyrics,' with more music & painting than before," and Elizabeth Barrett Browning informed her sister Arabella that "there will be in them a good deal of Italian art . . pictures, music."2 The two topics are explicitly brought together in the final poem of the collection, "One Word More," which serves as epilogue. Here Browning, speaking in propria persona, directly addresses the relation between art and love, and in particular he considers which of the arts is best capable of expressing human passion. Yet the question of the differing relations between love and the different forms of art is not

Journal

Victorian PoetryWest Virginia University Press

Published: Jan 19, 2012

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