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19th Century Poets

Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806 - 1861), British Romantic poet of the Victorian era, is best known for her Sonnets from the Portuguese, love poems written for her husband Robert Browning, with whom she eloped to Italy at the age of 40.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Begin first with her poems. You’ll find Sonnets from the Portuguese and Selected Poems (1844) at the University of Maryland’s Womens Studies Reading Room.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning
A biography and lots of commentary are linked from the EBB site in The Victorian Web.

Elizabeth & Robert Browning
The Brownings’ love story, epitome of Victorian Romanticism, is realized with poems and RealAudio songs at the site created for the PBS special, Thomas Hampson: I Hear America Singing.

Robert Browning
Known during his lifetime mostly as Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s husband, Robert Browning’s dramatic monologues and poems earned later acclaim and made his work a major influence on the 20th century modernists. We have a small selection of his poems; a greater number are at the University of Toronto’s Representative Poetry On-Line.

Robert Browning
For commentary and context, visit Browning’s page at The Victorian Web and consult University of Minnesota Professor Michael Hancher’s list of Browning lit crit references.

George Gordon, Lord Byron
Lord Byron was both a nobleman and a revolutionary, the most flamboyant of the British Romantic poets, whose own scandalous and extravagant life made him the model for the iconic Byronic hero.

George Gordon, Lord Byron
George Gordon, Lord Byron was the descendant of English naval officers and barons on his father’s side, Scottish lords and kings on his mother’s, and he was himself both a nobleman and a revolutionary. He lived a flamboyant and scandalous life, so much so that he was famously dubbed “mad, bad and dangerous to know” and his celebrity far outshone...

George Gordon, Lord Byron
Marilee Cody’s site, The Life and Work of Lord Byron, has collected all manner of Byroniana: original sources, contemporary and historical commentary, poems, images and letters.

The Annotated Don Juan (Byron)
Bob Blair calls Byron’s masterwork “probably the most entertaining long poem in the English language” and has devoted years to compiling this annotated version for your reading pleasure.

John Clare
Briefly famous as “the Green Man,” Clare spent his last years in the insane asylum, “unfit for society after years addicted to poetical prosings,” and is now known as “the forgotten Romantic.” But there are a good number of Clare’s poems in the University of Toronto’s Representative Poetry On-Line, and John Clare Societies in both the UK and the US.

John Clare
There is an ever-expanding library of John Clare’s poems at this English blog site—lovely use of the blog format to create a searchable archive of one poet’s work.

Library: Poems by John Clare
Our library of poem texts – selected poems by John Clare, in chronological order.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Gothic/Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772 - 1834) was, with his friend William Wordsworth, a founder of the Romantic movement in poetry, and a noted critic and philosopher whose influence can be seen in many succeeding generations of poets.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Look in our library when you want to quote “Kubla Khan.” A number of Coleridge’s poems are at the University of Toronto, where you can also find the great Victorian critic Walter Pater’s essay on him.

John Clare’s “I Am”
Declaring that “Pathology, it seems, has trumped the poetry... All the more reason to launch a salvage operation,” David Barber gives us an excellent introduction to Clare, then offers his own, Carolyn Kizer’s and Christopher Ricks’ RealAudio readings of Clare’s late poem “I Am,” in Atlantic Unbound’s “Soundings” poetry series.

Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson was a recluse in 19th century New England, who became known as the “Belle of Amherst” and an iconic influence on American poetry only after the posthumous publication of her work. She only published eight poems in her liftime, but now!... we have all 1768 as written, complete with the abrupt dashes and bumpy wordplay. No titles...

Lyrical Ballads (Coleridge & Wordsworth)
The first edition (1798) of the two poets’ “experiments... to ascertain how far the language of conversation in the middle and lower classes of society is adapted to the purposes of poetic pleasure” is online at the University of Virginia’s Electronic Text Center.

Emily Dickinson
To read her work, consult our library for a selection of Dickinson’s poems, or go to Bartleby.com’s reprint of the 1924 edition of her Complete Poems, or dip into randomly selected fragments at the Emily Dickinson Random Epigram Machine.

Emily Dickinson in Photographs
Until recently there was only one known photographic image of the Emily Dickinson’s face, a single daguerreotype of the demure “Belle of Amherst” at the age of 16. In 2012, a second picture was revealed, a view of Emily at 30, her demeanor mature, confident and direct, sitting with her friend Kate Scott Turner.

The Scientist in Emily Dickinson
In contrast to the stereotypical notion of her as a shy and housebound Victorian woman who wrote about flowers and her religious faith, Emily Dickinson was actually a scientist at heart.

“Emily Dickinson, Continuing Enigma”
About.com’s own Women’s History Guidesite tells the story of how her poems came to public attention and offers a vast compendium of ED links.

John Keats
John Keats (1795 - 1821) was of the second generation of Romantic poets, after Wordsworth and Coleridge , and he was a city boy, spending most of his short life in London before he moved to Rome in a vain attempt to combat the tuberculosis that killed him a short time later. The house in Hampstead where he lived, fell in love with the girl,...

Paul Lawrence Dunbar
Although his life was short (1872 - 1906), his literary output was prodigious, including a number of well-loved poems in both dialect and standard English. Dunbar is cited by the University of Dayton as “the first African-American poet to garner national critical acclaim,” and their site offers an extensive collection of his poems in audio form, interpreted by Herbert Martin.

William Topaz McGonagall
We invite you to partake in what we consider the absolute freefall of the bottomless barrel, the worst poem of all time: William Topaz McGonagall’s “The Tay Bridge Disaster.”

Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe was the American Romantic poet, a balladeer, journalist and inventor of the modern detective story and horror tale. He was not yet three when his mother died—he was in the room, with his little brother, spent over two days with the corpse before someone else showed up, and had an intimate relationship with death throughout his...

Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Conqueror Worm”
The supposed original manuscript of Edgar Allan Poe's poem "The Conqueror Worm" popped up unexpectedly at an auction house in 2013 and was sold for a fortune--but Poe was such a polarizing figure in 19th century publishing and there are so many forgeries of his work that this manuscript may not be real.

Edgar Allan Poe
Tom Devaney took our readers on the tour he offered one summer through Edgar Allan Poe’s Philadelphia house, allowing visitors to explore the empty space of the house, phantom black cats, walled-in windows, surprise-whispers, and nothingness.

John Keats
At John-Keats.com, you’ll find not only his biography, his poems and letters, but an active Keats community in the discussion forum. His portrait, an image of a handwritten letter, poem manuscripts, a photo of Keats House in Rome and audio readings of several of Keats’ poems are in the British Library’s Keats exhibition.

Arthur Rimbaud
The French Symbolist Arthur Rimbaud was both a prodigy, writing all of his poems within only five years and abandoning poetry entirely before he was 21, and a prodigal, a wandering adventurer, never settled in either his living circumstances or his relationships, and never achieving worldly success during his lifetime. He had a tumultuous relationship with his lover and mentor, Paul Verlaine, and it was Verlaine who published his work posthumously, ensuring his lasting fame and influence.

Christina Rossetti
Christina Rossetti (1830 - 1894) was the gifted successor to Elizabeth Barrett Browning as the best woman poet in 19th century England and “queen of the Pre-Raphaelite school,” remembered today for lyric sonnets and roundels, devotional religious poems and essays, and feminist allegory in narrative ballads.

Arthur Rimbaud
The Drunken Boat includes its namesake poem among the pages devoted to “childhood . poetry . letters . verlaine . absinthe . books . links . total eclipse . vagabonds . mailing list.” There’s good material here, but since it’s a Tripod site, you have to put up with that annoying popup ad. It’s also the home of the Drunken Boat email list.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Poet and painter, Pre-Raphaelite, Rossetti brought color and realism into painting and into the poems he buried with his consumptive true-love.

The Rossetti Archive
Like William Blake, Rossetti combined painting and poetry in multimedia masterworks which take on marvelous depth and dimension when presented in hypermedia form on the Web. The Rossetti Archive is a complete online presentation of all of Rossetti’s work, pictures and text, poems and prose, translations and correspondence, together with related resources to put his life and work in cultural context.

Shelley’s Poetical Essay Against War
Percy Bysshe Shelley’s long poem, A Poetical Essay on the Existing State of Things was published anonymously in 1811, got him kicked out of Oxford University, disappeared for nearly 200 years, was rediscovered in 2006, and soon sank again into oblivion.

Robert Lewis Stevenson
Our library of selected poems by Robert Lewis Stevenson, in chronological order.

Walt Whitman
Walt Whitman was the quintessential American poet who sang of individual freedom, democracy and the brotherhood of man in the many editions of his compendious, self-published masterpiece, Leaves of Grass (of which you can find selections in our library).

Percy Bysshe Shelley
Percy Bysshe Shelley was the epitome of the Romantic poet in his unconventional individualism, his idealism, and his political radicalism. His Complete Poetical Works are at Bartleby.com, and the University of Toronto’s Representative Poetry Online has selected poems and his prose “Defence of Poetry.”

Walt Whitman
The most complete online collection of everything pertaining to WW is at the Walt Whitman Archive, which even has an mp3 of the wax cylinder recording of Whitman’s voice reading four lines from “America.”

William Wordsworth
Our reference page on William Wordsworth (1770 - 1850), whose theory of poetry began the Romantic movement in English poetry at the end of the 18th century, and whose poems immortalize the sublime landscapes of his beloved Lake District.

William Wordsworth
If you can’t find the Wordsworth poem you want in our library , Bartleby.com has the complete text of his poetical works . Representative Poetry On-Line at the University of Toronto has his preface to Lyrical Ballads and Walter Pater’s essay on Wordsworth, and The Wordsworth Variorum Archive displays the various published versions...

Walt Whitman
In the Library of Congress’ American Memory digital collection, you can leaf through Whitman’s notebooks, see his thoughts in his own hand.

Lyrical Ballads (Wordsworth & Coleridge)
The first edition (1798) of the two poets’ “experiments... to ascertain how far the language of conversation in the middle and lower classes of society is adapted to the purposes of poetic pleasure” is online at the University of Virginia’s Electronic Text Center.

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