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My Last Duchess and Other Poems
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My Last Duchess and Other Poems

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  5,022 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
The Victorian poet Robert Browning (1812 –1889) is perhaps most admired today for his inspired development of the dramatic monologue. In this compelling poetic form, he sought to reveal his subjects' true natures in their own, often self-justifying, accounts of their lives and affairs. A number of these vivid monologues, including the famed "Fra Lippo Lippi," "How It Strik ...more
Paperback, 110 pages
Published December 23rd 1993 by Dover Publications (first published 1842)
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Community Reviews

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Huda Yahya
Mar 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, college-books
My Last Duchess
--------------------

That’s my last Duchess painted on the wall,
Looking as if she were alive. I call
That piece a wonder, now: Fra Pandolf’s hands
Worked busily a day, and there she stands.
Will’t please you sit and look at her? I said
“Fra Pandolf” by design, for never read
Strangers like you that pictured countenance,
The depth and passion of its earnest glance,
But to myself they turned (since none puts by
The curtain I have drawn for you, but I)
And seemed as they would ask m
...more
Rosemary
Feb 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The Browning in my collection is scattered in older, more fragile volumes, but this Dover volume serves as a wonderful introduction to a great writer. There's no better short story/dramatic monologue than My Last Duchess. It just happens to be written in painstakingly perfect poetic language.
Jorge medina
Apr 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Reading "My Last Duchess” really grabbed my attention through the whole story it created many possible scenarios about the Duchess paint in my mind about what could it possible means in this short poem by Robert Browning. I think this poem is very interesting because the main character fuel the plot, even when its dramatic and symbolic definition of duchess paints. Duke Ferrara is a very jealous, possessive and control man. Duke possess a portrait on the wall of his last wife covered with curtai ...more
carolyn.reads
May 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Most people know his wife Elizabeth Barrett-Browning instead of him; however, I prefer Robert Browning's poetry to his wife. The first time I read "My Last Duchess" was in my Brit Lit class, we were discussing works from the Victorian Era, I must say it was love at first read. There is something dark and ambiguous about his work that it makes people keep reading to find out where it's going to lead. The poem starts with a haunting sentence "That’s my last Duchess painted on the wall, Looking as ...more
Arlind Fazliu
I have only read "My Last Duchess", "Home Thoughts from Abroad", and "Porphyria's Lover". I have been introduced to him in the classes that I've had as part of the Victorian Age in University.
They are easy to read but hard to analyze because you have to constantly be aware of not only the things that are said by the characters but also of the things which are unsaid but have to be guessed.
Robert Browning must have scared his famous wife Elizabeth Barret with his poems, for they all display theme
...more
Lindsay Paramore
Jan 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
All of his poems are amazing, but Last Duchess in particular is quite astounding. Must read if you are really into poetry!
Maria L. Lucio
May 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Sincerely, I do not enjoy at all reading poems because they are almost always full of a strange vocabulary that goes beyond my capacity to think. However, there some poems such as “My last Duchess” that really catch my attention. “My Last Duchess” by Robert Browning is a mysterious poem hard to understand due to its dramatic monologue. This poem was written in 1842, which makes it part of the Victorian poetry. The Victorian poetry was the poetry written during the reign of Queen Victoria. Thus, ...more
Jeff Hobbs
May 06, 2015 marked it as to-read
Shelves: poetry
Poems read--

Song from Pippa Passes
My Last Duchess--5
Incident of the French Camp
Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister
Johannes Agricola in Meditation
Porphyria's Lover
The Pied Piper of Hamelin
How They Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix
The Lost Leader
Home Thoughts from Abroad
The Bishop Orders His Tomb at Saint Praxed's Church
Earth's Immortalities
Meeting at Night/Parting at Morning--2
Love among the Ruins
A Lover's Quarrel
Up at a Villa--Down in a City
Fra Lippo Lippi
A Toccata of Galuppi's
An Epistle Con
...more
Nanette
Sep 14, 2015 rated it liked it
I just love porphyria'so lover!

In one long yellow string I wound
Three times her little throat around,
And strangled her. No pain felt she;
I am quite sure she felt no pain.
As a shut bud that holds a bee,
I warily oped her lids: again
Laughed the blue eyes without a stain.
And I untightened next the tress
About her neck; her cheek once more
Blushed bright beneath my burning kiss:
I propped her head up as before,
Only, this time my shoulder bore
Her head, which droops upon it still:
The smiling ros
...more
Ellen
Nov 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, favorites
Have always loved Robert Browning. In addition to the chilling narrative voice of "My Last Duchess," a couple of my other favorites are Fra Lippo Lippi:

...Oh, oh,
It makes me mad to see what men shall do
And we in our graves! This world’s no blot for us,
Nor blank; it means intensely, and means good:
To find its meaning is my meat and drink.


or Andrea del Sarto:

Know what I do, am unmoved by men's blame
Or their praise either. Somebody remarks
Morello's outline there is wrongly traced,
His hue mist
...more
Emily
Feb 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
Duke of Ferrara -16th Century . Entertaining a emissary who has come to negotiate the Duke's marriage to another powerful family.stops on a picture of the late Duchess and reminises about portrait sessions.claims she flirts with everyone and didnt appreciate the gift of his 900 year old name.. And killed her.. Then goes back to discussing is marriage arrangement.
Written in couplets, dramatic monologues.
Does art have a moral component or is it merely an aesthetic exercise ?
Dawn
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Browning is that rambly, wildly digressing neighbor who can't tell a story in a straight line. He has to visit every curve on the road to that story, describe every fruit on every tree and explain why they are so important, before he ever gets to a punch line.

However, his love of and skill with language is so deep, he's easily forgiven.

Plus, when he does hit that punch line, he hits it solidly and hard. So he's worth the wait.
Cao Mengqin
May 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My Last Duchess was treated as a "material" while my research of art history to evoke a significant notion REPRESENTATION. Professor of English and Art History W. J. T. MITCHELL from University of Chicago delivered us another interpretation of this poem in the sense of the representation.

Please refer to :

http://neh.byu.edu/files/2010/09/Repr...

for anyone's interest.
Lizette
May 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
In this poem by Robert Browning, mention the Duke not only as the main character but, the speaker as well. It is curious that the Duke will be passionate of the paintings and associate them with his former dead wife. To top it off have the courage to talk freely about the death. I figured the Duke had issues; I continue reading it went into detail on what kind of person was he. In the it drive me in another direction.
Noor Iqbal
duchess is the wife of king,and her portrait made by frapendak clergy man, the cruel king suggested not to make any smile of any situation n after of all she died cause to forbidden by smiling.... alas!!!on the conclusion we can see grieves boyond the life there must be some smile and gags for live in earth...
Andreea
Browning is rapidly becoming a serious contender for the title of my favourite Victorian writer, seconded only by George Eliot and Henry James. You simply can't stop yourself from rereading his savage verses until they're imprinted in your memory. I really need to read the courtship correspondence between him and EBB.
Carolyn
Oct 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
While Robert is always semi difficult to read. I read it this time when I was in with the flu. Thus time to sort out some of his more difficult or twisted sentences and I completely got it. This was my third reading of this book in twenty years. But I understand it now.
Erin
Aug 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I wouldn't normally consider myself a lover of poetry (however, when pressed, I find that I like much more that I had initially thought) but Robert Browning's work transcends the genre. Sometimes chilling, sometimes pompous, always passionate....a pleasure to read.
Ana Rînceanu
I picked this book up because I remember watching 'Pied Piper of Hamelin', the 1957 movie/musical version, when I was a child. The poem is really different, a lot darker, more of a cautionary tale. This poem and 'My Last Duchess' really stood out to me.
Jess
May 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Browning's poems are strange and disturbing, and one can believe Goldman when he tells us in "The Princess Bride" that not one copy of Browning's poems sold the first fortnight they were published. Still, they are worth a read.
Kerry
Sep 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I love Brownings poems, especially the ones which tell stories. My LAst Duchess is one of my favourite poems, dark and unnerving, the Dukes possessive nature is imbedded in my mind. Memorable and chilling.
Sachin
Jun 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
The most intriguing of all the poets with the introduction of the Dramatic Monologues, a peculiar technique, which speaks volumes of its efficacy.
All Praise for Browning for popularizing Dramatic Monologues, and displaying sheer optimism in his poetry.
Stephen
Jan 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, 2013-reads
Never remember reading Browning, but picked this up at a little cafe and didn't set it down. I immediately bought it down the street at the cheap Dover Thrift price and have likely read it through more than once.
Dora Sky
Apr 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literature
"Notice Neptune, though, Taming a sea horse, thought a rarity, Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me!"


Robert Browning is phenomenal. That's all.
Nidhi
Sep 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The way Browning builds up the atmosphere and the surprise denouement...make this poem a very interesting read!
Bob Hartley
Jan 31, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shit, I remember doing this in school. I've gone through My Last Duchess so many times that it gives me a headache.
Mii
Jun 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a great read!
Priscilla Mouta
Sep 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Tenho uma edição bilingüe desse livro. Sensacional. Ler Browning melhora meu dia.
Halo
Sep 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Robert Browning is an absolutely fantastic poet and monologue writer with a great deal of meaning, twists and turns. So memorable and written with precision. Very enjoyable to read and perform.
Ginnie Grant
Jan 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Dark and sad, but at the same time sweet and romantic. not easily forgotten.
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Victorians!: My Last Duchess - Browning 80 56 Mar 14, 2017 07:07AM  
  • Dover Beach and Other Poems
  • Ancient Mariner; Kubla Khan and Christabel
  • Goblin Market and Other Poems
  • Complete Poems and Selected Letters
  • Poems and Prose
  • Tennyson's Poetry
  • Aurora Leigh
  • Lyrical Ballads
  • John Donne's Poetry
  • Selected Poems
  • A Shropshire Lad
  • The Complete Poems
  • Poems and Songs
  • Poetry and Designs: Authoritative Texts, Illuminations in Color and Monochrome, Related Prose, Criticism
  • The Complete Poems
  • Selected Poems
24391
Robert Browning was a British poet and playwright whose mastery of dramatic verse, especially dramatic monologues, made him one of the foremost Victorian poets.

Browning began writing poetry at age 13. These poems were eventually collected, but were later destroyed by Browning himself. In 1833, Browning's "Pauline" was published and received a cool reception. Harold Bloom believes that John Stuart
...more
More about Robert Browning...
“This world's no blot for us,
Nor blank; it means intensely, and means good:
To find its meaning is my meat and drink.”
15 likes
“My Last Duchess

That’s my last Duchess painted on the wall,
Looking as if she were alive. I call
That piece a wonder, now: Fra Pandolf’s hands
Worked busily a day, and there she stands.
Will’t please you sit and look at her? I said
“Fra Pandolf” by design, for never read
Strangers like you that pictured countenance,
The depth and passion of its earnest glance,
But to myself they turned (since none puts by
The curtain I have drawn for you, but I)
And seemed as they would ask me, if they durst,
How such a glance came there; so, not the first
Are you to turn and ask thus. Sir, ’twas not
Her husband’s presence only, called that spot
Of joy into the Duchess’ cheek: perhaps
Fra Pandolf chanced to say “Her mantle laps
Over my lady’s wrist too much,” or “Paint
Must never hope to reproduce the faint
Half-flush that dies along her throat”: such stuff
Was courtesy, she thought, and cause enough
For calling up that spot of joy. She had
A heart—how shall I say?—too soon made glad,
Too easily impressed; she liked whate’er
She looked on, and her looks went everywhere.
Sir, ’twas all one! My favour at her breast,
The dropping of the daylight in the West,
The bough of cherries some officious fool
Broke in the orchard for her, the white mule
She rode with round the terrace—all and each
Would draw from her alike the approving speech,
Or blush, at least. She thanked men,—good! but thanked
Somehow—I know not how—as if she ranked
My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name
With anybody’s gift. Who’d stoop to blame
This sort of trifling? Even had you skill
In speech—(which I have not)—to make your will
Quite clear to such an one, and say, “Just this
Or that in you disgusts me; here you miss,
Or there exceed the mark”—and if she let
Herself be lessoned so, nor plainly set
Her wits to yours, forsooth, and made excuse,
—E’en then would be some stooping; and I choose
Never to stoop. Oh sir, she smiled, no doubt,
Whene’er I passed her; but who passed without
Much the same smile? This grew; I gave commands;
Then all smiles stopped together. There she stands
As if alive. Will’t please you rise? We’ll meet
The company below, then. I repeat,
The Count your master’s known munificence
Is ample warrant that no just pretence
Of mine for dowry will be disallowed;
Though his fair daughter’s self, as I avowed
At starting, is my object. Nay, we’ll go
Together down, sir. Notice Neptune, though,
Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity,
Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me!”
8 likes
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