Robert Browning's "obscurity" in modern perspective

dc.contributor.advisorSouthwell, Samuel B.
dc.contributor.committeeMemberFox, Donna R.
dc.contributor.committeeMemberEaker, J. Gordon
dc.creatorMullin, Dianna Lynn
dc.description.abstractBrowning's reputation for "obscurity" was established, in the nineteenth century and this problem is the theme of some contemporary criticism of the poet's work. This thesis is an attempt to reassess the problem in light of current attitudes toward the nature and function of poetry. The great majority of the Victorians who criticized Browning for being too difficult to understand were the reviewers of the popular periodicals of the period. An examination of their criticism reveals that most of those aspects of Browning’s world which they called "obscure" were really simply characteristics of the poetry which did not conform to the popular concept of what poetry ought to be. These criticisms of "obscurity," which were really objections to certain aspects of Browning's poetry which the Victorians disliked or which their reading habits made difficult for them, are re-examined in light of modem poetics. A comparison between the two attitudes shows that whereas the Victorians condemned Browning for his irregular syntax, his recondite allusions, and the subject matter with which he dealt, the modem poets and critics consider these things to be essential if poetry is to be successful. [...]
dc.description.departmentEnglish, Department of
dc.format.digitalOriginreformatted digital
dc.rightsThis item is protected by copyright but is made available here under a claim of fair use (17 U.S.C. Section 107) for non-profit research and educational purposes. Users of this work assume the responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing, or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires express permission of the copyright holder.
dc.titleRobert Browning's "obscurity" in modern perspective
dc.type.genreThesis of Arts and Sciences, Department of of Houston of Arts


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