Porphyria's Lover Essay

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In the following essay, Walker examines how Browning is able to fuse diverse elements into "poetic coherence" in "Porphyria's Lover."

The young Robert Browning manages remarkable mileage from nine sentences worth of the distracted reflections of "Porphyria's Lover." The poem is at once a murder shocker featuring a madman strangling a comely blond, a sociologist's case study of inability to communicate in a sexual relationship, a glimpse at the impact of artificial social values upon individual lives, a presodium pentathol excursion into the mind of an apparently motiveless killer, a convincing speculation as to why all men destroy the thing they love. Browning's fusion of such diverse forces into poetic coherence, let alone a compelling work of art, poses an intriguing problem in literary dynamics.

The only clear source in "Porphyria's Lover" of this surprising poetic resilience is the source of its flaws: Browning allows his intense interest...

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This section contains 1,648 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Porphyria's Lover Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
Porphyria's Lover from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.