POSTCARD BIOGRAPHIES FROM THE NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY
Sunday 30 March 1997
11. G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936) on Robert Browning (1812-1889)
One of the two great Victorian poets, bracketed and contrasted with Tennyson, famous among his foes for obscurity and among his friends for intellectualism, he was as much as anything a romantic; especially a poet of love. But he made free use of the grotesque and loved intricate argument and apologia. These things are best shown in The Ring and The Book; but he may well live as the inventor of what he truly called the Dramatic Lyric.
G K Chesterton
Chesterton has written a biography of Browning's work, not life: not even a mention of Elizabeth Barrett, with whom Browning eloped in defiance of her stern Papa, in one of literature's most celebrated love affairs (see Pantheon, page 37). EBB was rated rather higher than her husband during her life; when Wordsworth died she was tipped for the Laureateship. Now it is Browning who seems the more interesting writer: particularly the long dramatic monologues like "Andrea Del Sarto", "My Last Duchess" and "Fra Lippo Lippi".
Portraits, drawings and letters from the "postcard biography" archives are on display at the National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place, London WC2. Free.
BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital moveTV
Final Top Gear reviewTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 2 Greece debt crisis explained: A history of just how the country landed itself in such a mess
- 3 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 4 Greek debt crisis: Yanis Varoufakis's funniest (and most memorable) quotes
- 5 Swedish minister gives strongest case yet on why EU should stop turning away asylum seekers
Wireless 2015: Nicki Minaj 2 hours late to main stage due to 'travel issues'
Chronixx interview: Reggae sensation on taking the opening spot at Glastonbury and calling Barack Obama a 'waste man'
Game of Thrones season 6: Director Jack Bender hints showrunners 'communicate closely' with George RR Martin
Amy: Mark Ronson praises 'respectful' Amy Winehouse film as it scores the highest ever UK opening for a British documentary
Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts