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Robert Browning

            Robert Browning, one of the most talented poets of the Victorian period, is famous especially for his dramatic monologues. Often these long poems deal with such issues as love, death, and faith. Much of his work is directly reflective of his life and of those issues that were of direct concern to him. One conflict seen throughout Browning's poetry is one of spirituality. His poetry forms a spiritual timeline; it reveals his spiritual influences and opinions. It formed his own Bible of beliefs which he possessed. Because Browning's views on spirituality changed, his poetry also gives insight on the internal conflicts within his life. The paper will explore Robert Browning's spiritual journey as is reflective in his poetry. Robert Browning was born in Camberwell, near London, England on May 7, 1812. He was raised by his father, also Robert Browning, and by his deeply religious mother, Sarah Anna Weideman-Browning. His often indulgent parents gave him the freedom to explore new literary and philosophical ideas of the time period, yet he was also instructed to believe the unexplained mysteries of the Christian faith(Miller, 1953). His mother, who had strong ties to the congregational church, took great time to instruct Robert in his religious studies. With this open atmosphere, however, Browning exhibited signs of disinterest in religion during his early childhood. The town preacher, in fact , found it necessary to publicly scold "for restlessness and inattention Master Robert Browning"(as cited in,Miller, 1953, p.9). Robert Browning's tendency toward skepticism was recorded early on. Robert Browning's first deviation from his faith was at the age of fifteen or sixteen. His primary influences were the Flower family and the writing of P.B Shelley. Browning often traveled to the Flower's house to discuss music, poetry, and aethism (Irvine & Honan, 1974). Eliza Flower , with whom Browning was infatuated was an influence in Browning's aethism.

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