This volume in the 21st-Century Oxford Authors series offers students and readers a comprehensive selection of the work of Robert Browning (1812-1889). Accompanied by full scholarly apparatus, this is the first one-volume fully annotated edition of Browning's poetry. It presents work written across the breadth of his career, from the very first poem he published, Pauline, to Asolando, the volume that was published on the day that he died.
The text chosen is, wherever possible, the text of the poem as it was first published by Browning himself, and as a consequence the volume also constitutes a kind of biography that enables students to understand Browning's development over the course of his life. The edition reveals a poet who began as a bold experimentalist, and who continued to experiment throughout a writing career of more than fifty years. Browning is best known for his dramatic monologues, and the dramatic monologues are
fully represented in this volume, but he was also a narrative poet, a poet of philosophical reflection, and a poet who fashioned an extraordinary variety of lyric measures. This volume reveals Browning as a far more versatile poet than he is often taken to be. There are two important prose items, an
essay on Shelley and a letter to Ruskin which clarify Browning's intellectual stance. The Notes include brief headnotes to each poem followed by detailed annotation, and they assist the reader in developing a full understanding of these masterful poems.
Explanatory notes and commentary are included, to enhance the study, understanding, and enjoyment of these works, and the edition includes an Introduction to the life and works of Browning, and a Chronology.
Richard Cronin has published very widely on nineteenth-century literature. After teaching for many years at the University of Glasgow, he has recently been appointed to a chair at Oxford Brookes University. Dorothy McMillan is an Honorary Research Fellow of the University of Glasgow, and has published widely with a particular focus on Scottish literature and poetry by women.