Love Story: Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning

To express his admiration for her work, on January 10, 1845, Robert Browning wrote a letter to Elizabeth Barrett. Thus began a correspondence which would lead to one of the great love stories of the 19th century.

The Brownings

Elizabeth was a 39-year-old spinster at this time. She also suffered from a back injury. While one would expect most parents to be happy in such a situation that their child was able to find some happiness, such was not the case. Elizabeth’s father bitterly opposed their union. Robert Browning’s family likewise had misgivings due to Elizabeth’s precarious health.

Twenty months and 575 letters after the first letter arrived, the couple secretly married on September 12, 1846.

Read The Browning Letters on the Baylor University’s Digital Collections

Elizabeth and her father never reconciled even though the marriage proved fruitful and the couple had a son.

The Brownings moved to Italy where Elizabeth’s health improved and they lived for the most part in Florence. After 15 years of a happy marriage, Elizabeth died in Robert’s arms on June 29, 1861.

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