Ruskin, Browning/Alpenstock, Hatchet

  • Ross Wilson
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Nineteenth-Century Writing and Culture book series (PNWC)


Opening with the epistolary exchange between John Ruskin and Robert Browning on the occasion of the publication of the latter’s Men and Women (1855), this chapter chiefly concerns the role of labour in Browning’s verse. Labour and its frustrations are key concerns of Men and Women in particular, the speakers of many of whose poems agonize over what results work may have, how to satisfy the expectations others (often paying customers and patrons) have of one’s work, and the borders where work might shade into leisure, pleasure, or play. The chapter includes diversions on the role of the alpenstock and hatchet in the nineteenth-century English imagination.


Correspondence John RuskinLabour Leisure Mountaineering Poetry Reading Robert Browning 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ross Wilson
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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