BU Conference to Examine Poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Life and Work

Feb. 15, 2006

by Alan Hunt, (254) 710-6271

The well-known Victorian poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning was 55 years old when she died in the arms of her husband, Robert Browning, at their home in Florence, Italy, in 1861. Their union was considered to be one of the greatest literary romances ever known.

Now, 200 years after her birth (March 6, 1806), the life of the woman who dared to be untraditional in her poetry will be celebrated next month during an international conference at Baylor. Elizabeth Barrett Browning is widely known for her romantic and popular Sonnets from the Portuguese, but she has achieved literary distinction through her works dealing with politics, liberty, and questions of gender. Hosted by the Armstrong Browning Library, the March 3-6 program will examine and reassess Elizabeth Barrett Browning's life and work.

The Armstrong Browning Library contains the world's largest collection of artifacts relating to poets Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning and has become a mecca for Browning scholars worldwide, attracting more than 20,000 visitors each year. An indication of the library's major importance as a Browning resource will be reflected in the speakers and participants attending the three-day conference program, a number of them from England and Canada, as well as the United States.

Titled "'This Is Living Art:' Elizabeth Barrett Browning in the Twenty-first Century: A Bi-Centenary Celebration," the conference will include five plenary sessions and six panel discussions, along with an editorial round table discussion, and a 7 p.m. conference banquet on Saturday, March 4, at the Hilton Hotel, Waco. A celebratory birthday lunch will be held on Monday, March 6, the 200th anniversary of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's birth, in the Cox Reception Hall at Armstrong Browning Library.

Keynote speakers during the program will include Dr. Simon Avery of the University of Hertfordshire, England; Dr. Sandra Donaldson of the University of North Dakota; Dr. Tricia Lootens of the University of Georgia; Dr. Marjorie Stone of Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada; and Dr. Herbert Tucker of the University of Virginia. The conference organizer is Dr. Alison Chapman of the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Program coordinator is Rita S. Patteson, assistant professor and curator of manuscripts at the Armstrong Browning Library.

For more information about the conference visit www.browninglibrary.org/ebb or contact Kathleen Miller at Armstrong Browning Library, telephone 254.710.4968 or email Kathleen_A_Miller@baylor.edu.

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