Robert Browning was one of the greatest of English poets, whose intense and original imagination enabled him to transform any subject he chose - whether everyday or sublime - into startling memorable verse. In his work he brought to life the personalities of a diverse range of characters, and introduced a new immediacy, colloquial energy and psychological complexity to the poetry of his day. This selection brings together verse ranging from early dramatic monologues such as the chilling 'My Last Duchess' and the ribald 'Fra Lippo Lippi', which show his gift for inhabiting the mind of another, to the popular children's poem 'The Pied Piper of Hamelin' and many lesser known works. All display his innovative techniques of diction, rhythm and symbol, which transformed Victorian poetry and influenced major poets of the twentieth century such as Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot and Robert Frost.
Robert Browning (1812-1889) attended the newly founded University of London for a year before travelling widely on the Continent in the 1830s and 1840s. After a clandestine courtship, he married Elizabeth Barrett in 1846 and they lived in Italy until her death in 1861. He is one of the most significant and inventive of Victorian poets. Daniel Karlin is Professor of English at University College, London. He has edited The Penguin Book of Victorian verse.