Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning Love Letters

Hello! I hope you had a wonderful Valentine's Day! Although I did not get to spend the day with my husband he sent me a huge bouquet of my favorite flowers, white tulips and of course sent me lots of chocolates, from Belgium.

My evening was spent listening to several talented musicians, to include my friend John Patek, violinist, Jared (forgot his last name), the cellist, Jarend's  sister who preformed on the viola, his mother a member of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra played the bass, as well as a pianist and a mandolin player. The setting, the Wisconsin Women's Club ballroom was magical and the music romantic, haunting and fabulous.

Image from here
Speaking of romantic, yesterday I told you about one of my favorite books, Love Letters which as I mentioned is filled with copies of actual love letters from famous couples the world over, to include Elizabeth Barret Browning and Robert Browning. Yesterday, Valentines Day the following press release was published:

To Reveal the Art of the Handwritten Love Letter, Two Colleges Use Technology 
The legendary correspondence between Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning—broken seals, envelopes, crossed-out handwriting, and all—will be released online on Valentine’s Day in the largest digitization effort of love letters ever undertaken

Wellesley, Mass.—On Valentine’s Day, some of the most famous love letters ever written will be viewable in their original handwritten form, thanks to the joint efforts of Wellesley College (Massachusetts) and Baylor University (Texas). The 573 letters of the poets Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning, which are owned and housed by Wellesley’s Margaret Clapp Library, have been digitized through a partnership with Baylor University and will be made available online through Baylor’s Digital Collections beginning February 14, 2012. The collaborative project provides unprecedented free access to these celebrated letters for scholars and romantics alike—and may inspire readers to opt for pen and paper over text messages and emails this Valentine’s Day. "

image from here
The 573 letters written between January 1845 and September 1846, began as a simple fan letter one could say from Robert Browning to Elizabeth Barrett and continued until a week after their secret marriage. Elizabeth had been forbidden by her father to get married, as had her siblings, and so Elizabeth and Robert married in secret. Elizabeth was then disinherited and her father never spoke to her again. Elizabeth and Robert moved to Italy where Elizabeth recovered a bit from her life long illnesses and then had her son at the age of 42.

These letters which had previously been transcribed and only available for viewing at Wellesley are now available for you to peruse at your leisure, every scribble, the nuisance's of the handwriting, the script, and even the envelopes. You can read, decipher or just look at any one of these remarkable and romantic letters. From which grew what is said to be some of the two poets best and most famous works.

How Do I Love Thee?

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints-- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!-- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Sonnet XLIII
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Are you a poetry fan? Do you like Elizabeth Barrett Browning or Robert Browning? I am excited to be able to try to read these beautiful 167 year old love letters and to relive their beautiful romance.

I hope you have a great day!


  1. Hey Elizabeth...well your husband certainly has beautiful taste, the flowers are beautiful and the chocolates, well we both know how we feel about them:) I know of Robert Brownings work, from school but not extensively. Love Letters I bet is a wonderful read.
    Sounds like you had a wonderful day:)

  2. Good morning sweet friend!

    I am so glad to hear that although away from him, your husband sent you WHAT YOU LOVE! And what a gorgeous color of tulip!!! LOVE LETTERS....ah.......I have a few from the earlier years, but these days, I have sweet blog comments from my beloved that are just as sweet. How fun to just one day sit and sift through OLD VINTAGE LOVE LETTERS. That would be a fun Valentine's GIRLS GET-TOGETHER, wouldn't it???????

    Sorry to be late...the usual fatigue, you know!



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