Remembering Browning

“Love, hope, fear, faith – these make humanity;
These are its sign and note and character.”

collection_5295_RobertBrowningRobert Browning was born in Camberwell on May 7th 1812 and educated by private tutors. His parents were wealthy enough to allow him to travel and to be a poet as if it were a profession. He came known by literary figures such s Wordsworth and Landor after the publication of “Paracelsus” in 1835, but he was unrecognized by the public until “Men an Women” appeared twenty years later. He was therefore almost unknown when in 1846 he eloped with Elizabeth Barrett.

He is now widely recognized as a master of dramatic monologue and psychological portraiture. Browning is perhaps best-known for a poem he didn’t value highly, The Pied Piper of Hamelin, a children’s poem that is quite different from his other work. He is also known for his long form blank poem The Ring and the Book, the story of a Roman murder trial in 12 books.

A long dramatic narrative poem, and, more specifically, a verse novel, of 21,000 lines. It was published in four volumes from 1868 to 1869 by Smith, Elder & Co.

The book tells the story of a murder trial in Rome in 1698, where an impoverished nobleman, Count Guido Franceschini, is found guilty of the murders of his wife Pompilia Comparini and her parents, having suspected his wife was having an affair with a young cleric.

“No, when the fight begins within himself, A man’s worth something.”

“One who never turned his back but marched breast forward, never doubted clouds would break, Never dreamed, though right were worsted, wrong would triumph, Held we fall to rise, are baffled to fight better, sleep to wake.”


The love affair between two of the Victorian era’s most famous poets is one of passion, tragedy, illness, and ultimately, endurance. Collected here are their 573 love letters, which capture their courtship, their blossoming love, and their forbidden marriage.


Grow old with me! The best is yet to be.

Portland Woodstock ‘08

A420AA7D-E419-4FE3-9476-3D96385B409AThis weekend was Portland’s 2018 book festival Wordstock. The event was held at the Portland Art Museum and featured over 100 authors. Their was books signings and readings for all ages all and numerous historic locations in the area. It was a great day for writers and readers alike.

I came home with lots of information and goodies.
I chose to go the exploratory route and pick just a few random new books.

My 2018 Wordstock spoils:

Arms From The Sea by Rich Shapero

A young sculptor from the State of Salt swallows a poison pill that transports him to a watery heaven, whose monstrous, seductive creator reveals to him what it might mean to redeem a desolate world.

A confusing and interesting read so far, but I haven’t given up on it.

A Doctor A Day by Bernard Mansheim
Under white coats, behind caring eyes, beneath sterile stethoscopes is the human within the doctor. The one that bears bad news, holds pain and mires in a stream of death and the dying. In this fictional story, Dr. James is in crisis as his practice is further burdened by a crushing lawsuit. Unmasking the psychological burden experienced by many practicing doctors this work portrays one physician’s unbearable experience as examined and articulated by a seasoned MD

My choice cafe drink of the week:

Book Bean: Eggnog Spice Latte
98014BCE-D8F0-4832-98A9-C058CCBD4DEBStart with 1-3 shots of espresso to taste (or for the ‘Au Lait’ version try 4-6 oz of strong black coffee, 1-2 oz eggnog, and 1oz milk) stir in a tiny pinch of cayenne and pinch of pumpkin spice. Pour in steamed eggnog mix: 1 part (2-4 oz depending on number of espresso shots) rich creamy eggnog and 1 part non-fat milk (or milk of choice.) Finish drink off with a sprinkle of nutmeg and cinnamon.

Vampire Boy (Adventures of Alex Vambarey)
by Aric Cuching

I chose this book because, first off books have no age, and secondly it seem like a clever synopsis. We shall see.

It seems it has also won quite a few awards, so I’m hopeful that it will not disappoint 🙂


Which local book events do you look forward to?