Fighting on Her Stumps: The Woman, the Poet, the Myths

  • Marjorie Stone
Part of the Women Writers book series (WW)


Elizabeth Barrett was a legend before she ever met Robert Browning. In his first letter to Barrett in 1845, Browning compared her to ‘some world’s-wonder in chapel or crypt’, recalling how he had almost been introduced to her three years earlier. She ironically replied to this rather tactless comment, ‘BUT … you know … if you had entered the “crypt”, you might have caught cold, or been tired to death’ (RB-EBB 1:4–5). As every schoolgirl knows, Browning did enter the ‘crypt’ and he was not ‘tired to death’. Elizabeth Barrett, the legendary poet-recluse, was transformed into Elizabeth Barrett Browning, the legendary heroine of a romance chaste enough to be safely enjoyed even by the proverbial Victorian ‘young person’. It is a romance summed up in five famous words.


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© Marjorie Stone 1995

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  • Marjorie Stone

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