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Writing isolation—why Elizabeth Barrett Browning is the poet for our time

The Victorian poet was a literary star in her own day but has fallen out of fashion

By Alice Wright  
A contemporary portrait of Elizabeth Barrett Browning by Karoly Brocky Credit: Wikimedia commons

A contemporary portrait of Elizabeth Barrett Browning by Karoly Brocky. Credit: Wikimedia commons

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, although a famous poet in her lifetime, has struggled to hold her rightful place in the literary canon. Poet Fiona Sampson’s new biography, Two-Way Mirror, the first of Barrett Browning in 30 years, seeks to rectify that anomaly by looking at the personal life and poetic influence of this remarkable woman.   Growing up in Herefordshire, Ba, as she was affectionately known at home, was a tomboy who relished country living. However, as well as her overbearing family, Elizabeth faced another bodily oppression: grave but undiagnosed illness. Sampson speaks of the poet’s cloistering illness in the context of…

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