Introduction & Overview of Sonnet XXIX by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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Sonnet XXIX Summary & Study Guide Description

Sonnet XXIX Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Further Reading on Sonnet XXIX by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Many poems have been written about love: its nature, its causes, its effects, its beginnings, its endings— but Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Sonnets from the Portuguese is unique in the history of English literature for the means by which the sonnets were eventually published for all the world to read. According to Margaret Foster's biography Elizabeth Barrett Browning, three years after her 1846 marriage to fellow poet Robert Browning, Barrett Browning was listening to her husband rail against "personal" poetry which, presumably, could not handle the greater and more complex themes that he felt poetry should. She then surprised her husband with the question, "Do you know I once wrote some sonnets about you?" and then showed him the forty-four sonnets she had composed during their courtship. Astounded by their beauty and power, Browning insisted that they be published, and in 1850, Barrett Browning's Sonnets from the Portuguese was read by countless more people than the sonnets' originally intended audience of one.

While the most famous line of all Barrett Browning's poetry is found in "Sonnet XLIII" ("How do I love thee? Let me count the ways"), all of the poems in Sonnets from the Portuguese reveal her agile mind that explores the nature of love and its effects on her. "Sonnet XXIX," like several of its companions, offers Browning a glimpse of his beloved when she is not in his presence: beginning with the statement "I think of thee," the poem depicts the workings of Barret Browning's mind as she anticipates her husband's arrival. Although modern readers were not, of course, considered by Barrett Browning as she wrote her poems to Browning, they can still appreciate the skill and force of her verse over 150 years later.

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This section contains 287 words
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Poetry for Students
Sonnet XXIX from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.