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A Handbook to the Works of Browning (6th ed.)

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A HANDBOOK TO THE WORKS OF ROBERT BROWNING

BY MRS. SUTHERLAND ORR

"No pause i' the leading and the light!" _The Ring and the Book_, vol. ix. p. 226.

LONDON G. BELL AND SONS, LTD. 1927

_First Published May 1885._ _Second Edition, 1886._ _Third Edition, 1887._ _Fourth Edition, 1889._ _Fifth Edition, 1890._ _Sixth Edition, 1892._ _Reprinted 1895, 1899, 1902, 1907, 1910, 1913, 1919, 1923._

PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN BY PURNELL AND SONS PAULTON, SOMERSET, ENGLAND

PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.

This book was written at the request of some of the members of the Browning Society, and was originally intended to be a primer. It bears the marks of this intention in its general scheme, and in the almost abrupt brevity which the desired limits of space seemed to impose on its earlier part. But I felt from the first that the spirit of Mr. Browning's work could neither be compressed within the limits, nor adapted to the uses, of a primer, as generally understood; and the book has naturally shaped itself into a kind of descriptive Index, based partly on the historical order and partly or the natural classification of the various poems. No other plan suggested itself, at the time, for bringing the whole series of these poems at once under the reader's eye: since a description which throughout followed the historical order would have involved both lengthiness and repetition; while, as I have tried to show, there exists no scheme of natural classification into which the whole series could have been forced. I realize, only now that it is too late, that the arrangement is clumsy and confusing: or at least has become so by the manner in which I have carried it out; and that even if it justify itself to the mind of my readers, it can never be helpful or attractive to their eye, which had the first right to be considered. That I should have failed in a first attempt, however earnest, to meet the difficulties of such a task, is so natural as to be almost beyond regret, where my credit only is concerned; but I shall be very sorry if this result of my inexperience detracts from any usefulness which the Handbook might otherwise possess as a guide to Mr. Browning's works. I note also, and with real vexation, some blunders of a more mechanical kind, which I might have been expected to avoid.

I have been indebted for valuable advice to Mr. Furnivall; and for fruitful suggestion to Mr. Nettleship, whose proposed scheme of classification I have in some degree followed.

A. ORR.

_March 2nd, 1885._

PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.

In preparing the Handbook for its second edition, my first endeavour has been to correct, as far as possible, the faults which I acknowledged in my Preface to the first. But even before the time for doing so


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