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In a recent "Memoir of Elizabeth Barrett Browning," by John H. Ingram, it is observed that "such essays on her personal history as have appeared, either in England or elsewhere, are replete with mistakes or misstatements." For these he proposes to substitute "a correct if short memoir:" but, kindly and appreciative as may be Mr. Ingram's performance, there occur not a few passages in it equally "mistaken and misstated."

1. "Elizabeth, the eldest daughter of Edward Moulton Barrett, was born in London on the 4th of March, 1809." Elizabeth was born, March 6, 1806, at Coxhoe Hall, county of Durham, the residence of her father.[A] "Before she was eleven she composed an epic on 'Marathon.'" She was

2. "It is said that Mr. Barrett was a man of intellect and culture, and therefore able to direct his daughter's education, but be that so or not, he obtained for her the tutorial assistance of the well-known Greek scholar Hugh Stuart Boyd ... who was also a writer of fluent verse: and his influence and instruction doubtless confirmed Miss Barrett in her poetical aspirations." Mr. Boyd, early deprived of sight from over-study, resided at Malvern, and cared for little else than Greek literature, especially that of the "Fathers." He was about or over fifty, stooped a good deal, and was nearly bald. His daily habit was to sit for hours before a table, treating it as a piano with his fingers, and reciting Greek—his memory for which was such that, on a folio column of his favourite St. Gregory being read to him, he would repeat it without missing a syllable. Elizabeth, then residing in Herefordshire, visited him frequently, partly from her own love of Greek, and partly from a desire for the congenial society of one to whom her attendance might be helpful. There was nothing in the least "tutorial" in this relation—merely the natural feeling of a girl for a blind and disabled scholar in whose pursuits she took interest. Her knowledge of Greek was originally due to a preference for sharing with her brother Edward in the instruction of his Scottish tutor Mr. M'Swiney rather than in that of her own governess Mrs. Orme: and at such lessons she constantly assisted until her brother's departure for the Charter House—where he had Thackeray for a schoolfellow. In point of fact, she was self-taught in almost every respect. Mr. Boyd was no writer of "fluent verse," though he published an unimportant volume, and the literary sympathies of the friends were exclusively bestowed on Greek.

3. "Edward, the eldest of the family," was Elizabeth's younger by nearly two years. He and his companions perished, not "just off Teignmouth," but in Babbicombe Bay. The bodies drifted up channel, and were recovered three days after.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940013263352
Publisher: Unforgotten Classics
Publication date: 10/09/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 511 KB

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THE POETICAL WORKS OF ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING VOL.1 (Illustrated) 1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
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