Sonnets from the Portuguese
- Browning, Elizabeth Barrett

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Commentary

Adelaide Hanscom Leeson’s edition of Sonnets is characterised by an interesting variety of approaches to the inclusion of photographs within the volume, the most novel of which is the arrangement beginning the book. Excerpts from the sonnets have been incorporated into the prints, as they had in Hanscom Leeson’s version of the Rubaiyt of Omar Khyym, uniting text and image. The calotypes bear some resemblance to her photographic work on FitzGerald’s Rubaiyt some eight years earlier, and both books follow a more evocative manner of illustration rather than a descriptive model as evinced by Mabel Eardley Wilmot’s Rubaiyt.

Typically the photographs occur between clusters of sonnets and represent, in the pictorial tradition that broadly defines Hanscom Leeson’s work, female figures either alone or in groups, occasionally with children. This latter inclusion suggests the influence of Emma Justine Farnsworth, whose photopoetic works In Arcadia (1892) and Sunshine and Play-time(1893), though poetically quite different, both include photographs of children. The photographs, too, are in different styles. In Sonnets, children are depicted in the pictorial manner reminiscent of In Arcadia, where, at least partially nude, they are accompanied by female figures in flowing dresses.

Book Details

Author: Browning, Elizabeth Barrett
Title: Sonnets from the Portuguese
Publication Year: 1916
Poets Featured: Browning, Elizabeth Barrett
Photographers Featured: Leeson, Adelaide Hanscom
Subjects: Sonnets, English, English poetry
Photographic process: Calotypes

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

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