24. Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Place: A day conference – Session 2

Between 1809 and 1832 the woman who would become one of the nineteenth century’s most famous poets, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, grew up and established her career near Ledbury. In this day conference, part of the Ledbury Poetry Festival, a number of experts on Barrett Browning examine the wider idea of place in the poet’s life and work. Individual talks explore the significances of Ledbury, London and Italy, and Torquay and Jamaica for Barrett Browning and also consider her own significance for subsequent poets and writers. Talks are accompanied by readings of a range of works produced both by Barrett Browning herself and those writers she inspired.

Session 2.  11.30-12.30: Cora Kaplan (Queen Mary University of London): From Wimpole Street to Casa Guidi: London and Italy in Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Life and Imagination. In 1838 the Barrett family moved to 50 Wimpole Street, London, where Elizabeth lived, largely as an invalid, until her secret marriage to Robert Browning in 1846. The couple fled to the continent settling in Florence until her death in 1861. Both London and Italy inspired her most daring, innovative poetry. In this talk Cora Kaplan will explore Elizabeth’s personal, political and poetic response to London and Italy. With readings by Sharon Eckman.

Cora Kaplan is Honorary Professor of English at Queen Mary, University of London and Professor Emerita of English at Southampton University. She is co-General Editor, with Jennie Batchelor, of the 10 volume History of British Women’s Writing (Palgrave) and has been writing, on and off, but with undiminished enthusiasm, about Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s life and poetry since the early 1970’s.