The Barret Browning volume in the 21st Century Oxford Authors series offers a comprehensive selection of the works of one of the nineteenth-century's most famous poets. The revaluation of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's work by feminist scholars has made her an established (indeed standard) author in university syllabuses in Britain and in America. Yet the emphasis upon her contribution to a female tradition has tended to rigidify Barrett Browning's contribution to
English literary culture in the nineteenth century, just as her popular image as ringleted-invalid-turned-romantic-heroine served sentimentally to eclipse her role as a literary pioneer. This edition
complements or corrects these emphases by being the first edition dedicated to witnessing the progress and growth of the poet's creative direction - from her juvenilia through to her major achievements and beyond. In keeping with the aims of the series, the selection honours the original sequencing of the published works as the best means of indicating the contours of Barrett Browning's poetic career. Thus, following fairly limited selections from published juvenilia, The Battle of Marathon
(1820) and 'An Essay on Mind' and Other Poems (1826) and from 'Prometheus Bound' and Miscellaneous Poems (1833), there are more extensive selections from 'The Seraphim' and Other Poems (1838), from Poems
1844 and from Poems 1850 including the full text of Sonnets from the Portuguese. Substantial excerpts from Casa Guidi Windows (1851) is followed by the full text of Aurora Leigh (1857) and by selections from the posthumous Last Poems (1862). These individual sections are supplemented by careful selections (also chronologically ordered) from the correspondence, including the courtship letters with Robert Browning, and, where applicable, from poetry unpublished in the nineteenth century. The
edition comes with full scholarly apparatus (introduction, chronology, explanatory notes), though it follows the series policy of recording only significant variants between editions.