Dearest Isa

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Dearest Isa

Robert Browning's letters to Isabella Blagden

By Robert Browning
Edited by Edward C. McAleer

A remarkable correspondence between the poet Robert Browning and his friend Isabella Blagden.

1951

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Paperback

6.69 x 9.61? | 452 pp.

ISBN: 978-0-292-71513-4

Robert Browning's friendship for Isabella Blagden was almost as remarkable as was his love for Elizabeth Barrett. After Elizabeth's death (June 1861), Browning went to England to educate their son, but he hoped eventually to return to Italy, principally so that he might be near his friend "Isa." He asked her to write to him once a month on the twelfth, promising to answer her letter on the nineteenth.

The fulfillment of this obligation resulted in a correspondence which is remarkable from the standpoint of continuity. Most collections of letters suffer from their fragmentary form; there are no continuing threads of interest which hold them together. Not so the letters which Browning wrote to Miss Blagden. They are not in the great English letter writing tradition, being obviously written for Isa rather than for posterity, but they are filled with the most intimate and interesting sort of gossip and informal exchanges of ideas which give them a character all their own.

One hundred and fifty-four letters from Browning to Isabella Blagden are known to be in existence; all of them are included in the present volume, together with copious explanatory notes and an illuminating introduction.

Edward C. McAleer has approached every detail of his editorial task with thoroughness, imagination, and skill. His notes will add immeasurably to the pleasure of reading the letters, in addition to making a substantial contribution to the world's knowledge of Browning and his associates.

Preface
Cue-Titles, Abbreviations, and Symbols
Introduction
Letters (Number. Date: Manuscript)
1. c. 1850: Baylor 29
2. Aug. 1, 1857: Baylor 7
3. February, 1858: Baylor 17
4. July 3, 1858: Baylor 1
5. July 8, 1858: Baylor 2
6. Aug. 1, 1858: Baylor 10
7. Sept. 4, 1858: BM A2550
8. Sept. 11, 1858: Baylor 11
9. c. Oct. 2, 1858: Baylor 4
10. Jan. 7, 1859: Baylor 8
11. Feb. 15, 1859: NYPL and Baylor 9
12. Mar. 27, 1859: Baylor 6
13. Aug. 2, 1859: Baylor 28
14. Aug. 7, 1859: Baylor 12
15. Aug. 11, 1859: BM A2550
16. Sept. 9,1859: Baylor 13
17. Nov. 30, 1859: BM A2553
18. Dec. 29, 1859: Baylor 18
19. Jan. 1, 1860: Baylor 16
20. January 1860: Baylor 3
21. January 1860: Baylor 15
22. Feb. 8, 1860: Baylor 18
23. March 27, 1860: Missing
24. April 19, 1860: Baylor 19
25. May 2, 1860: Baylor 20
26. May 10, 1860: Baylor 56
27. May 19, 1860: Baylor 5
28. Dec. 3, 1860: Baylor 21
29. Dec. 8, 1860: Baylor 23
30. Dec. 12, 1860: Baylor 22
31. Dec. 27, 1860: Baylor 24
32. Jan. 21, 1861: Baylor 26
33. January 1861: Baylor 25
34. c. Jan. 25, 1861: Baylor 34
35. May 13, 1861: Baylor 27
36. June 23, 1861: Baylor 33
37. June 24, 1861: Baylor 31
38. June 25, 1861: Baylor 30
39. June 26, 1861: Baylor 32
40. Aug. 22, 1861: Baylor 35
41. Aug. 31, 1861: Baylor 36
42. Sept. 9, 1861: Baylor 37
43. Sept. 17, 1861: Baylor 38
44. January 1862: Baylor 40
45. Feb. 6, 1862: Baylor 39
46. Feb. 15, 1862: Baylor 41
47. March 7, 1862: Baylor 42
48. March 25, 1862: Baylor 43
49. June 19, 1862: BM A2553
50. July 19, 1862: Baylor 44
51. July 26, 1862: BM A2550
52. Aug. 1, 1862: Baylor 45
53. Aug. 18, 1862: Baylor 46
54. Sept. 19, 1862: Baylor 47
55. Oct. 18, 1862: Baylor 48
56. Nov. 19, 1862: Baylor 49
57. Dec. 19, 1862: Baylor 50
58. Jan. 19, 1863: BM A2535
59. Feb. 19, 1863: Baylor 51
60. March 19, 1863: Baylor 67
61. April 19, 1863: Baylor 53
62. May 19, 1863: Baylor 54 and 55
63. July 19, 1863: Yale
64. Aug. 19, 1863: Baylor 57
65. Sept. 19, 1863: Baylor 58
66. Nov. 19, 1863: Baylor 59
67. Dec. 19, 1863: BM A2550
68. Jan. 19, 1864: Baylor 60
69. Feb. 8, 1864: Missing
70. March 19, 1864: Baylor 52
71. Aug. 19, 1864: Baylor 61
72. Sept. 19, 1864: Missing
73. Oct. 19, 1864: BM A2550
74. Nov. 19, 1864: Baylor 62
75. Dec. 19, 1864: Baylor 63
76. Jan. 19, 1865: Baylor 64
77. Feb. 19, 1865: Baylor 65
78. March 18, 1865: Baylor 66
79. April 19, 1865: Baylor 68
80. May 19, 1865: Baylor 69
81. Aug. 19, 1865: BM A2536
82. Sept. 19, 1865: Baylor 70
83. Oct. 19, 1865: Baylor 71
84. Dec. 19, 1865: Baylor 72
85. Feb. 19, 1866: Baylor 73
86. March 19, 1866: Baylor 74
87. April 22, 1866: Baylor 75
88. May 19, 1866: NYPL
89. June 20, 1866: BM A2547
90. July 13, 1866: Baylor 76
91. Aug. 7, 1866: BM A2548
92. Sept. 24, 1866: BM A2548
93. Oct. 19, 1866: Baylor 77
94. Nov. 26, 1866: Baylor 78
95. Feb. 19, 1867: BM A2553
96. March 21, 1867: Missing
97. March 29, 1867: Baylor 79
98. April 23, 1867: Baylor 80
99. May 22, 1867: Baylor 81
100. June 19, 1867: Baylor 83
101. July 19, 1867: T. L. Hood
102. Aug. 19, 1867: BM A2548
103. Sept. 19, 1867: BM A2548
104. Nov. 19, 1867: Baylor 86
105. Dec. 31, 1867: Baylor 87
106. Jan. 19, 1868: Baylor 88
107. Feb. 20, 1868: Baylor 89
108. March 19, 1868(?): Baylor 91
109. June 16, 1868: Baylor 90
110. June 19, 1868: Missing
111. Aug. 28, 1868: NYPL
112. Oct. 19, 1868: Baylor 92
113. Nov. 12, 1868: Baylor 93
114. Dec. 17, 1868: Baylor 94
115. January 1869: Baylor 85
116. Feb. 19, 1869: Baylor 95
117. April 19, 1869: Baylor 96
118. May 16, 1869: Baylor 97
119. June 19, 1869: Baylor 84
120. June 24, 1869: Baylor 98
121. Aug. 28, 1869: Baylor 99
122. Sept. 19, 1869: Baylor 100
123. Oct. 19, 1869: Baylor 101
124. Jan. 19, 1870: BM A2553
125. Feb. 24, 1870: Baylor 102
126. March 22, 1870: BM A2551
127. April 21, 1870: Baylor 103
128. June 19, 1870: BM A2551
129. July 2, 1870: Baylor 104
130. July 19, 1870: BM A2553
131. Aug. 9, 1870: Baylor
132. Aug. 19, 1870: BM A2552
133. Sept. 19, 1870: Baylor 105
134. Oct. 19, 1870: BM A2552
135. Nov. 21, 1870: Baylor 106
136. Dec. 30, 1870: Baylor 107
137. Jan. 23, 1871: Baylor 108
138. April 25, 1871: Baylor 109
139. May 21, 1871: Baylor 110
140. July 19, 1871: BM A2538
141. Aug. 19, 1871: Baylor 111
142. Oct. 1, 1871: Baylor 112
143. Nov. 8, 1871: Baylor 113
144. Dec. 29, 1871: Baylor 114
145. Jan. 25, 1872: Baylor 115
146. Feb. 19, 1872: Baylor 116
147. March 30, 1872: Baylor 117
148. April 30, 1872: Baylor 118
149. May 22, 1872: Baylor 119
150. June 1872: Baylor 124
151. July 3, 1872: Missing
152. Aug. 27, 1872: Baylor 119a
153. Sept. 19, 1872: Baylor 120
154. Nov. 1, 1872: Baylor 121
Appendix
Index

Edward C. McAleer (1911-2006) was Professor of English at Hunter College, NYC.

"A first-class piece of scholarship that only Robert Browning himself could fail to appreciate."
New Yorker