Barrett Love Letters Goes Online on Valentines Day
The 573 handwritten letters detailing the courtship and forbidden marriage of poet Elizabeth Barett and her husband, also a poet, Robert Browning were made available online this Valentine's Day.
The collection has been kept at Wellesley College since 1930. The digitalization has been made through collaboration between Wellesley and Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
Wellesley administrators hope the project will expose students, romantics, poetry fans and others to their love story.
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Barrett, one of the best-known poets of the Victorian era, suffered from chronic illness and was in her late 30s when Browning first wrote her in 1845 to tell her he admired her work. In their fifth month of correspondence, they met for the first time, introduced by Barrett's cousin.
After more than a year of almost daily letters between them, the couple wed in secret in September 1846, defying her father's prohibition against her ever marrying. They fled from London to Italy, where doctors had told Barrett her health might improve. Her father disinherited her and never spoke to her again.
"It's the fact that she defied her father, she was in ill health, they fell in love through letters, she left with hardly anything," said Ruth Rogers, Wellesley's curator of special collections.
"If you want a perfect romance, just read the letters," she said.
The letters are now viewable online at: http://www.wellesley.edu/browning