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Passions without a Tongue

Dramatisations of the Body in Robert Browning’s Poetry


Jochen Haug

Robert Browning (1812-1889) is generally held to be one of the most important and most complex Victorian poets. His poetry balances a high level of intellectual sophistication with an acute awareness of physical materiality. This study analyses the depiction of the human body in Browning’s work. Particular emphasis is placed on the dramatic monologue, the poetic form for which he is famous. The main part of the study consists of close readings of Browning’s poems and situates his œuvre in the context of Victorian thinking.
Contents: The Genesis and Internal Dynamics of the Dramatic Monologue – Victorian Concepts of the Human Body – Pauline and the Beginnings of Browning’s Dramatic Poetry of the Body – Body Language, Masquerade and Role-Play – Pain, Death and Transcendence – The Sexual Body as Agent and Object of Desire.