Strange Love - Robert Browning
“Shall I sonnet-sing you about myself? / Do I live in a house you would like to see?” (l 1-2), croons Robert Browning in his poem, “House.” Robert Browning, who “grew up in a comfortable suburban home,” quickly lost his Christian faith, and grew into “the poetic psychologist who would care less what people believed than how.” Over the course of his lifetime, it is evident through reading his poetry that “his creativity would be most fully engaged by case studies of extremity or compromise, failure or inconclusiveness in the experiments of life” (Dorothy Mermin 542). While Browning cared more about how people believed, he was not believed as a great poet of the Victorian genre because his poetry “failed to win the kind of attention readers were paying to poets like Tennyson and Elizabeth Barrett” (Mermin 542). Henry James declared (about Browning), “that none of the great had ever been so strange, none of the strange so great” (Mermin 543). Robert Browning’s beliefs of how rather than what people believed led him to compose thought-provoking poetry laced with sexual innuendos, including revelation, temptation, and self-fulfillment, all which are encompassed in a relationship between art (poetry) and sexual love. Upon in-depth evaluation of many of Browning’s poems, it is evident that he felt strongly about these topics, and although they were strange in the eyes of the Victorian critics, he was able to “sonnet-sing” sexual or erotic love in his poetry in a manner that did not jeopardize the high morals of the Victorian genre.
The act of revealing something to view, making it known, or enlightenment of the subject matter is one topic Robert Browning has mastered. In “Andrea del Sarto,” Browning relates a story of a painter, a faultless painter, who over the years has come to the realization that his wife, Lucrezia, is not in love with him, although she stays married to him. “You turn your face, but does it bring your heart?” (l 4),...