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Poetry Archives > Browning; "Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister"

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message 1: by Natalie (new)

Natalie Tyler (doulton) | 186 comments Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister

I

Gr-r- r – there go, my heart’s abhorrence!
Water your damned flower-pots, do!
If hate killed men, Brother Lawrence,
God’s blood, would not mine kill you!
What? your myrtle-bush wants trimming?
Oh, that rose has prior claims –
Needs its leaden vase filled brimming?
Hell dry you up with its flames!

II

At the meal we sit together;
Salve tibi! I must hear
Wise talk of the kind of weather,
Sort of season, time of year:
Not a plenteous cork crop: scarcely
Dare we hope oak-galls, I doubt;
What’s the Latin name for “parsley”?
What’s the Greek name for “swine’s snout”?

III

Whew! We’ll have our platter burnished,
Laid with care on our own shelf!
With a fire-new spoon we’re furnished,
And a goblet for ourself,
Rinsed like something sacrificial
Ere ’tis fit to touch our chaps –
Marked with L. for our initial!
(He-he! There his lily snaps!)

IV

Saint, forsooth! While brown Dolores
Squats outside the Convent bank
With Sanchicha, telling stories,
Steeping tresses in the tank,
Blue-black, lustrous, thick like horsehairs,
– Can’t I see his dead eye glow,
Bright as ’twere a Barbary corsair’s?
(That is, if he’d let it show!)

V

When he finishes refection,
Knife and fork he never lays
Cross-wise, to my recollection,
As do I, in Jesu’s praise.
I the Trinity illustrate,
Drinking watered orange pulp –
In three sips the Arian frustrate;
While he drains his at one gulp!



VI

Oh, those melons! if he’s able
We’re to have a feast; so nice!
One goes to the Abbot’s table,
All of us get each a slice.
How go on your flowers? None double?
Not one fruit-sort can you spy?
Strange! – And I, too, at such trouble,
Keep them close-nipped on the sly!

VII

There’s a great text in Galatians,
Once you trip on it, entails
Twenty-nine distinct damnations,
One sure, if another fails;
If I trip him just a-dying,
Sure of heaven as sure can be,
Spin him round and send him flying
Off to hell, a Manichee?

VIII

Or, my scrofulous French novel
On grey paper with blunt type!
Simply glance at it, you grovel
Hand and foot in Belial’s gripe;
If I double down its pages
At the woeful sixteenth print,
When he gathers his greengages,
Ope a sieve and slip it in’t?

IX

Or, there’s Satan! – one might venture
Pledge one’s soul to him, yet leave
Such a flaw in the indenture
As he’d miss till, past retrieve,
Blasted lay that rose-acacia
We’re so proud of! Hy, Zy, Hine ...
’St, there’s Vespers! Plena gratiâ
Ave, Virgo! Gr-r- r – you swine!


message 2: by Natalie (new)

Natalie Tyler (doulton) | 186 comments This poem was published in 1842, the same year as "My Last Duchess".
Our speaker is a monk in Spain in an unascertained year. He does not have a name.

1. What kind of person does he seem to be?

2. Who is the object of his hatred?

3. Why is he so filled with hate?

4. What is this monk's attitude towards religion?

5. What is life like at the dinner table?

6. Why should he dislike Brother Lawrence? What do we know about Brother Lawrence?

7. There's no sin in the seminary. But is there sexual content here?

8. What is his grand scheme for Brother Lawrence?

9. Do you have any questions?


message 3: by Natalie (new)

Natalie Tyler (doulton) | 186 comments 1. Our speaker is an unnamed monk and yet he's plotting to send one of his monastic brothers to Hell! He's even willing to sell his soul to Satan to accomplish his ends!

He does not let us know, as the Duke did in "My Last Duchess" why his hatred for Brother Lawrence is so vast. Like the Duchess, Brother Lawrence seems like a pleasant person.


message 4: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 191 comments Natalie wrote: "6. Why should he dislike Brother Lawrence? What do we know about Brother Lawrence?"

The speaker enumerates a number of things he dislikes about Brother Lawrence. I guess we can ask the question, does the speaker hate B.L. first, and thus detests these trivial things. Or, does the speaker hate B.L. because of these things?

In my opinion, the major cause is found in the last two lines of Stanza V. The speaker says, "In three sips the Arian frustrate" (5.7). He is referring to how he (himself) drinks. The speaker believes in the Trinity and how he drinks symbolizes the Trinity.

Brother Lawrence is an Arian. Arianism was "an influential heresy denying the divinity of Christ. [They] maintained that the Son of God was created by the Father and was therefore neither coeternal with the Father, nor consubstantial" (OED). So, the Arian, Brother Lawrence, essentially believes in "Father only". Thus, "he drains his at one gulp" (5.8).

It is my guess that the Trinity view vs. the Arian view inside the monastery would be the great rift. All they do is think about God all day long, in theory. So, if one hates the other, it would probably be over differing religious views.


message 5: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 191 comments The allusion to Galatians is interesting in Stanza VII. There are 29 verses in Chapter 3, but these are not "distinct damnations" (7.3). The writer, Paul, is discussing a curse which stemmed from the Law (of Moses) and he is saying that the people to whom he is writing are "bewitched" (Gal. 3:1). I think the key verse there is: "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us" (Gal. 3:13). The point is this: since Lawrence is an Arian and does not believe in the divinity of Christ, he has no redemption from the Law and therefore is cursed under the Law. What we may construe as the 22nd "distinct damnation" reads, "But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe" (Gal. 3:22). "The Scripture" is a synecdoche for the Law. Lawrence (notice the first three letters of his apt name) has no hope in the Law, for it condemns everyone. Thus, without Christ he is damned. The speaker gloats in this, rather than being moved to compassion.


message 6: by Lucia (new)

Lucia | 180 comments But is Brother Lawrence really an Arian? Or is this just what the speaker thinks of him?
What a difference from Duke Alfonso's eloquence - this soliloquy is an outburst of rage! The very beginning of the poem reveals this, starting with an onomatopeic gr(unt), reinforced by the allittered "r" sound in the first line. As the monologue progresses, the anger in the speaker's veins grows. Brother Lawrence, the object of this sentiment, so inappropriate for a monk, is charged of being guilty of terrible sins. Sticking to (trivial) rituals (the cutlery cross wise, drinking in three sips), the speaker believes to be a better Christian. Yet I feel there is a credibility gap between what the speaker reveals of himself through the soliloquy and the real impression the listener/addressee gets. I found this hint of irony also in My last Duchess.


message 7: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 191 comments Natalie wrote: "9. Do you have any questions?"

I have several, but I'm not going to lay them on you all at once. What does the speaker mean when he says, "Oh, that rose has prior claims" (1.6)? I couldn't make this out.


message 8: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 191 comments Lucia wrote: "But is Brother Lawrence really an Arian? Or is this just what the speaker thinks of him? "

That's a fair question. I believe the speaker definitely thinks so. I find that stanza 7 (29 distinct damnations) is based on L's Arianism. But, we have an unreliable speaker, so one could make the case that this is all in his mind. If he based it on his "one-gulp" (5.8), I would say that is rather flimsy evidence. But, I don't think it is based on that. I trust the speaker this far. Just my opinion though.


message 9: by Lucia (new)

Lucia | 180 comments Jonathan wrote: "I have several, but I'm not going to lay them on you all at once. What does the speaker mean when he says, "Oh, that rose has prior claims" (1.6)? I ..."

The rose, the lily and the myrtle feature in Christian symbology.
The rose and the lily stand for virginity, purity. The myrtle can be a symbol for the Church.


message 10: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 191 comments Natalie wrote: "7. There's no sin in the seminary. But is there sexual content here?"

It's funny, Natalie, I thought you were baiting me here, because of the "cherry" discussion. My initial thought was, "No, where are you getting that from." Notwithstanding, I found it! In Stanza IV, it seems the speaker is watching Lawrence gawk at two nuns who are telling stories. The speaker asks, "Can't I see his dead eye glow, / Bright as 'twere a Barbary corsair's?" (4.7). I do not take this literally, as if Lawrence were really missing an eye and wearing an eye patch. Jesus said, "If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out." This was an obvious reference to lust. The speaker is watching this man lust after the two nuns and is wondering why he hasn't bothered to pluck out his eye! That's how I read this.


message 11: by Lucia (new)

Lucia | 180 comments Jonathan wrote: "That's a fair question. I believe the speaker definitely thinks so. I find that stanza 7 (2..."
I do agree with you. This is what the speaker actually thinks. But sorry, I am not drawn to trust him.


message 12: by Natalie (new)

Natalie Tyler (doulton) | 186 comments Brother Lawrence seems to be the monastery gardiner. He is trimming his myrtle bushes and also wants to make sure he gets around to the roses. He's trying to triage how he tends his garden. Should he water the roses in a vase or trim the myrtle first? Perhaps Brother Lawrence is too chatty.
Later on the speaker reveals that he snaps the blossoms off the flowers just to frustrate Brother Lawrence.

My opinion is that Brother Lawrence is like the Duchess--a perfectly innocent rather normal person whose only fault is that perhaps he's too eager to chat at the dinner table. Also Brother Lawrence gives the abbot a larger share of melon than the other monks.

I think the poem is a study in irrational hatred.


message 13: by Brit (new)

Brit | 88 comments As I read the first couple of stanzas, I got the impression that the speaker was feed up with a nagging fellow monk. "Do this, do that, trim the myrtle-bush, fill the leaden vase with water..." There are people who can grate on you. But as I read further, I began to wonder if I had not misjudged the two. We really do not know much about brother Lawrence, but we get to know something about the speaker.

When he starts criticizing brother Lawrence for not drinking his orange juice correctly (one sip each for the Father, Son and Holy Spirit) or laying down the fork and knife making a cross, it is the speaker that is coming across as nitpicking and less than saintly. The charge of brother Lawrence being an Arian heretic further underscores this and lays bare the hatred within the speaker. In the letter to the Galatians, Paul has some harsh words towards anyone preaching a different gospel, and the speaker picks up on this, though he twists the actual text of Paul. There are not 29 distinct damnations in the text, but you are under the curse if you want to live under the law. He also accuses brother Lawrence of being a Manichee, another heresy quite different from Arianism. One feels like telling the speaker to make up his mind, but this inconsistency makes you wonder how much of the accusations are based on reality and how much is only in the mind of the speaker


message 14: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 191 comments Brit wrote: "He also accuses brother Lawrence of being a Manichee, another heresy quite different from Arianism. One feels like telling the speaker to make up his mind, but this inconsistency makes you wonder how much of the accusations are based on reality and how much is only in the mind of the speaker "

This may change my mind about the speaker's accusatory statement of Lawrence being an Arian. It appears you are right. He is moving from one accusation to the next, looking for a reason to damn Lawrence. The evidence of how he drinks is flimsy at best!


message 15: by Lucia (new)

Lucia | 180 comments The speaker contradicts himself not only on the heresy matter. He calls Brother Lawrence a "swine" and accuses him of looking at the nuns with lust (lines 25 - 30), but isn't the well-used "scrofulous novel" (line 57) his own (the speaker's)?


message 16: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 191 comments This is courtesy of Shmoop, my favorite site for analysis of poetry, because they bring out the microscope and go through, line by line: )

"Swine's Snout" is, in fact, a common name for the dandelion flower in some rural areas of England, but we're pretty sure the speaker is just implying that Brother Lawrence has a piggy face."


message 17: by Lucia (new)

Lucia | 180 comments Jonathan wrote: "This is courtesy of Shmoop, my favorite site for analysis of poetry, because they bring out the microscope and go through, line by line: )

"Swine's Snout" is, in fact, a common name for the dande..."


cfr last line: "you swine"


message 18: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 191 comments Here is another Shmoop find that helped me:

"Line 24: The "lily" referenced here is a metaphor for innocence and purity. But the speaker is delighted ("he-he!") that the illusion of Brother Lawrence's innocence and purity is "snapped," or broken."

The idea is that because Bro. Lawrence marked his goblet with an "L", he has a worldly possession, thus breaking his vow of poverty and snapping his lily (deflowering his purity).


message 19: by Brit (new)

Brit | 88 comments The poem and the speaker drips with jealousy. In stanza 6 he talks about the melons they will have as a feast. The abbot will have a whole melon. It makes me wonder if the abbot does not favor brother Lawrence and the speaker is jealous. As someone with a green thumb, brother Lawrence should, barring something really unforeseen, be able to grow melons so all can enjoy. But the speaker sheds doubt on this. Brother Lawrence has not been able to grow double flowers because the speaker is nipping the buds on the sly. Is he going to sabotage the melons also?


message 20: by Ginny (new)

Ginny (burmisgal) | 193 comments Natalie wrote: "3. Why is he so filled with hate?.."

For me, the issue is the "Cloister". The speaker is desperately unhappy in his cloistered life, and cannot conceive of why Brother Lawrence is so fulfilled and content. The speaker doesn't think that Brother Lawrence is actually guilty of all the heresies mentioned, but rather the speaker hopes to tempt (or at worst, frame) Brother Lawrence into accidentally committing a heresy that will condemn him to hell. I see the speaker as unable to feel and practice the love that will take him to heaven, and bitterly resents that Brother Lawrence will attain celestial glory so easily.


message 21: by Natalie (last edited Feb 01, 2017 10:28AM) (new)

Natalie Tyler (doulton) | 186 comments I agree with what you all have written. It's possible that our speaker was confined to a monastery because he was an orphan or that he's been there since he was a child. I am not at all convinced that he really believes in God.

This stanza is intriguing and I want to respond to Lucia's post about it:

Saint, forsooth! While brown Dolores
Squats outside the Convent bank
With Sanchicha, telling stories,
Steeping tresses in the tank,
Blue-black, lustrous, thick like horsehairs,
– Can’t I see his dead eye glow,
Bright as ’twere a Barbary corsair’s?
(That is, if he’d let it show!)

**************
I think he's saying that the monks can see a river near a convent where some of the Spanish women go to bathe. They have names like Dolores and Sanchicha. Our speaker is a peeping Tom and perhaps an eavesdropper. The Monastic thing to do would be to avert one's eyes. I think his fantasy is that perhaps he can get Brother Lawrence to also stare at the naked women. In his imagination, Brother Lawrence IS staring at the women.
But he's only indicting himself. He's looking and listening to the women and we only have his own fantasy that perhaps Brother Lawrence might do the same. We have no evidence that Brother Lawrence looks at them.


message 22: by Brit (new)

Brit | 88 comments I agree that the speaker feels trapped in the cloister/ monastery, but he may still believe in God. He is pretty miffed at brother Lawrence being "lax" about observing the ritual of crossing the knife and fork and taking three sips of his beverage symbolizing the holy trinity.


message 23: by Lucia (new)

Lucia | 180 comments Natalie wrote: "This stanza is intriguing and I want to respond to Lucia's post about it:..."

Most definitely, Natalie. I assumed that Dolores and Sanchita were nuns because it often happened that monasteries for monks and nuns were close.
Yes, there is not any evidence that the accusation of lust is grounded on facts. Probably this is just what the speaker thinks, hopes or wants to see. I can go even further. It seems to me that the negative "can't" implies that the speaker is trying to convince himself. Of course, English is not my mother tongue and I can misunderstand the language.
My opinion is that Browning is deliberately playing with ambiguity.


message 24: by Natalie (new)

Natalie Tyler (doulton) | 186 comments Lucia, I agree with you "Browning is deliberately playing with ambiguity". I think that his dramatic monologue ask us to weigh sympathy and judgement. Do we really trust the speaker?

I thought that nuns were unlikely to be bathing where they could be seen and that Dolores and Sanchicha were just girls or women from the town...where ever that may be.


message 25: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 191 comments Natalie wrote: "I thought that nuns were unlikely to be bathing where they could be seen and that Dolores and Sanchicha were just girls or women from the town...where ever that may be."

It is hard to say. In my first read, I unquestioningly took them to be nuns. If they are just two ordinary girls from town, then what is the significance of the convent as the setting? Shmoop also suggested they may be girls employed at the convent, girls who were not nuns. That's another possibility.


message 26: by Natalie (new)

Natalie Tyler (doulton) | 186 comments It's possible. They may be local girls who think that bathing by the convent might afford them more privacy.

Another clue about the speaker's less than monastic sexuality is that he keeps a "scrofulous French novel". Ideally a monk would have more refined reading materials.


message 27: by Lucia (last edited Feb 02, 2017 03:04PM) (new)

Lucia | 180 comments Natalie wrote: "I think that his dramatic monologue ask us to weigh sympathy and judgement. Do we really trust the speaker? ..."

That's it! The reader is asked to judge the man, his actions and/or thoughts. This should be the result of the reader's interpretation of the information provided by the speaker and we can judge the speaker only from his words. In the case of this monologue, I do no trust him and think he is a hypocrite. But it is just my point of view and probably other readers can produce reasons to justify why they believe in him. And  this is just the reason why I find these monologues amazing! Browning is anticipating following literary issues, concerning themes, techniques and forms. Suggesting that there is not a unique truth, Browning stands against the Victorian faith and love for certainties and is pioneering new ways for writing.


message 28: by Lucia (last edited Feb 02, 2017 10:29AM) (new)

Lucia | 180 comments Jonathan wrote: "Shmoop also suggested they may be girls employed at the convent, girls who were not nuns..... "

I had never heard of Smoop before I read your post. I had a look at it and I think it is an interesting resource. It will be very useful to me to get a better understanding.



message 29: by Brit (new)

Brit | 88 comments I do not think the speaker is giving us a reliable picture of brother Lawrence. His jealousy and hatred clouds his judgement, but my question is:

Does the speaker believe himself what he is saying about Brother Lawrence? Has he successfully deluded himself?


message 30: by Lucia (new)

Lucia | 180 comments Tough question! He may be casting his own faults on Brother Lawrence. But is this really so important? I think that Browning's major concern was to provoke a reaction in the reader.


message 31: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 191 comments Lucia wrote: "Jonathan wrote: "Shmoop also suggested they may be girls employed at the convent, girls who were not nuns..... "

I had never heard of Smoop before I read your post. I had a look at it and I think ..."


It's great, but all the ads can be troublesome. But, they have a lot of poems on there and they probably have 20-30 pages on this one alone.


message 32: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 191 comments Brit wrote: "Does the speaker believe himself what he is saying..."

The only accusation that I took literally was that Bro. Lawrence was an Arian. This thread had disabused me of that notion. The only thing I take literally in stanza V now is that the speaker came to this conclusion by how Lawrence used his silverware and drank from his goblet. Arianism was considered heresy to the Catholic Church. Lawrence would not have been allowed at the monastery if this were the case.


message 33: by LindaH (new)

LindaH | 499 comments There's the sound of mockery in the speaker. I read that mockers most hate being corrected. Perhaps BL judged the speaker for his novel and corrected him.


message 34: by Lucia (new)

Lucia | 180 comments Jonathan wrote: "Arianism was considered heresy to the Catholic Church. Lawrence would not have been allowed at the monastery if this were the case. .."

Jonathan, I think you are absolutely right. But.. have you ever read "The Name of the Rose" by U. Eco? You can get an intriguing insight into life in a medieval monastery and debates on heresy. This leads me to the following questions: when is this monologue set? Why in a Spanish cloister?


message 35: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 191 comments Lucia wrote: "when is this monologue set? Why in a Spanish cloister?"

Good questions. We can speculate, but I don't think we can know.


message 36: by Natalie (new)

Natalie Tyler (doulton) | 186 comments I don't think we can know that Brother Lawrence is an Arian. That might be following into the trap of the speaker, who wants us to hate Brother Lawrence as much as he does.
But also I know that in these dramatic monologues Browning likes to set up one "good" person who appears flawed because the "good" person--like the Duchess or like Brother Lawrence---is reported on by a bad, manipulative person who is trying to skew our judgment.

I have no idea why Spain. It could be something as simple as Browning wanting to use the name Sanchicha or to add some variety to his frequent Italian settings.


message 37: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 191 comments Natalie wrote: "I have no idea why Spain. It could be something as simple as Browning wanting to use the name Sanchicha or to add some variety to his frequent Italian settings. "

I wonder if Spain still had a reputation for religious intolerance. It is my understanding that the Spanish Inquisition was not officially over until well into the 19th Century, although in practice it died out quite awhile before this.


message 38: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 191 comments Natalie wrote: "Browning likes to set up one "good" person who appears flawed because the "good" person--like the Duchess or like Brother Lawrence---is reported on by a bad, manipulative person who is trying to skew our judgment. "

I can see that trend now, thanks.


message 39: by Brit (new)

Brit | 88 comments Why Spain? By naming a location, the poem becomes more real. Browning may have had specific reasons for setting this in Spain. I am just contrasting the poem set at a specific place versus unknown place.


message 40: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 191 comments Perhaps, he had visited Spain and had a specific monastery in mind.


message 41: by Natalie (new)

Natalie Tyler (doulton) | 186 comments I have no idea if Browning had ever visited Spain and doubt he had a specific monastery in mind. Maybe it's because Spain was such a deeply Roman Catholic country or maybe he wanted to write some poems that were set neither in Italy or England.


message 42: by Clari (new)

Clari (clariann) | 525 comments Natalie wrote: "I have no idea if Browning had ever visited Spain and doubt he had a specific monastery in mind. Maybe it's because Spain was such a deeply Roman Catholic country or maybe he wanted to write some p..."

I don't know what the time setting of this poem is, but I read on one site about Browning that he favoured Medieval and Renaissance European settings as it was distanced enough from his contemporary audience to allow him to subtly criticise organised religion in England.
This concept does seem to fit this poem, where the speaker is concerned with the appearances of religion, the minute detail of drinking properly and crossing your knife and fork, but the only comfort he gets from his faith is imagining the damnation of what appears to be a fairly innocence fellow monk. I think it shows the innate hypocrisy of people who use their position in society as a shield for their inner cruelties.


message 43: by Lucia (new)

Lucia | 180 comments Clari wrote: "I don't know what the time setting of this poem is, but I read on one site about Browning that he favoured Medieval and Renaissance European settings as it was distanced enough from his contemporary audience to allow him to subtly criticise organised religion in England. "

Yes, this was quite common. A good example can be the Italian novel "I Promessi Sposi", which was written about a couple of decades before Browning's poems. In our case, Browning's monks (Fra Lippo and the one of the soliloquy) are not properly samples of religious virtue.


message 44: by Clari (new)

Clari (clariann) | 525 comments Lucia wrote: "Clari wrote: "I don't know what the time setting of this poem is, but I read on one site about Browning that he favoured Medieval and Renaissance European settings as it was distanced enough from h..."

Out of interest, Lucia, living in Italy do views of Italy written by British writers, like Browning's 'Old Pictures in Florence' https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/old-p...

feel recognisable to you, or does it feel like an outsider's view of Italy?


message 45: by Lucia (new)

Lucia | 180 comments Clari.
Sorry for being so late, but these weeks have been really tough. Also, I'd like to thank you for the Old Pictures in Florence link. I really enjoyed this poem. I do think that Browning's view is that of an outsider, an outsider of the XIX century. Browning's (probably objective) criticism is related to the state of things (on different levels) of that period. I can hardly imagine what Florence looked like then. Just yesterday we celebrated the anniversary of the Italian unification. Florence was the capital city of the new born Italy for a short time and underwent substantial works of "restyling" throughout those and later years. Moreover, I must admit that we people from Florence are ironic, superb and proud of our town. We feel blessed by its beauty and our eyes are partial, but we complain about the actual state of things. For all these reasons, I  don't think that the sentiment expressed by Browning fits ours.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piazz...

Here'a link which can be helpful. Please, note the paragraph about the inscription on the arch.


message 46: by Clari (new)

Clari (clariann) | 525 comments Lucia wrote: "Clari.
Sorry for being so late, but these weeks have been really tough. Also, I'd like to thank you for the Old Pictures in Florence link. I really enjoyed this poem. I do think that Browning's vie..."


Thank you so much for your perspective, it's very interesting to me, as a lot of the British nineteenth century writers seem fascinated with Italy, the culture, art and people. Browning actually lived in Italy I think for a few years so maybe had more than a tourist's knowledge of the city, but perhaps would have still had the British person in a foreign place mentality?


message 47: by Lucia (new)

Lucia | 180 comments You are welcome, Clari. I don't think that Browning's knowledge of Florence was superficial. He actually lived here, and was probably fond of the town. He had a factual knowledge, not the one of a simple "visitor". I have read that he studied Italian History and Art. For example, he read Vasari's work. The Florence Browning describes in the poem is not the Venice pictured in Galuppi's monologue.
Please, feel free to ask me if you have more questions on Florence or Italy. I will be pleased to help you, if I can.


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