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The Infinite Passion of Finite Hearts

Robert Browning and Failure in Love


Pratul Pathak

A major theme in Victorian poetry is the failure of relationships due to the lack of understanding between the individuals involved. In a series of poems, from The Madhouse Cells (1833) to The Ring and the Book (1968-69), Robert Browning created characters who were frustrated in relationships to illustrate the pain caused by the «infinite passion» of «finite hearts.» This study combines a close reading of the texts with aspects of psychoanalysis to show that through these poems Browning was trying to conduct a development of his own soul by imaginatively experiencing the problems lovers face due to their inability to understand each other. For this was an experience that was denied him by his «successful rescue» of Andromeda from Wimpole Street.
Contents: This is a study of the breakdown of communications as the central problem that led to misunderstanding and the failure of relationships in Browning's love poems.