Celebration and Longing: Robert Browning and the Nonhuman World
Victorian Writers and the Environment: Ecocritical Perspectives
Robert Browning--although not yet the subject of a great deal of scholarship that could be described as "ecocritical"--was the Victorian poet who, as much as any other, saw the plant and the animal kingdoms as central aspects of his work as a lyricist. From his earliest Shelleyan verses in the 1820s, up through the masterpiece lyrics, dramatic monologues, and other poems of the 1830s-1860s, all the way to the now-obscure narrative, dramatic, and translated verses of the 1870s and 1880s, Browning saw the natural world as a crucial index for understanding our human world and the nonhuman reality that surrounds us. For him, "nature" was not so much a category distinguished by its "otherness" as it was a part of a continuum of living creatures and even nonliving entities. These natural elements help us to understand and appreciate our place, as Homo sapiens, the most fully self-aware beings on earth.
Nichols, Ashton. "Celebration and Longing: Robert Browning and the Nonhuman World." In Victorian Writers and the Environment: Ecocritical Perspectives, edited by Laurence W. Mazzeno and Ronald D. Morrison, 47-62. New York: Routledge, 2017.