A Selection from the Poetry of Elizabeth Barrett Browning
- Browning, Elizabeth Barrett

Poets Featured with External Resources

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Published posthumously, this Selection from the works of Elizabeth Barrett Browning is photographically illustrated by Payne Jennings, adding to his significant portfolio of photographs accompanying nineteenth-century poets. Jennings’ illustrations follow his typical subject matter, representing British scenery in the pastoral mode. The selection of poems is extensive, including the Sonnets from the Portuguese sequence as well as the sonnets To George Sand and several of her longer poems. Jennings’ photographs are accompanied by a brief extract from the poem facing the photograph, and these captions act as orienting devices to situate the reader within the photograph. In the case of Jennings’ first full-page illustration, accompanying ‘The Lost Bower’, the caption is taken from the first stanza of the following page:

For you harken on your right hand
How the birds do leap and call
In the greenwood, out of sight and
Out of reach and fear of all;
And the squirrels crack the filberts through their cheerful madrigal.

The accompanying photograph depicts a figure walking through a wooded environment, and the effect of choosing this stanza is to evoke the reader’s own passage through the poem, likening the act of reading to that of walking. Also significant is the caption’s focus on aural images – the bird ‘call’ and the ‘crack’ of nuts and the squirrels’ ‘madrigal’ – as a concern with aurality structures many of the earliest photopoetic books, perhaps as a means of evoking the printed, visual verse.

Book Details

Author: Browning, Elizabeth Barrett
Title: A Selection from the Poetry of Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Publication Year: 1884
Poets Featured: Browning, Elizabeth Barrett
Photographers Featured: Jennings, Payne
Subjects: English poetry
Photographic process: Albumen prints

This book can be found in the University of St Andrews Library catalogue HERE

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