Early Victorian poet whose courtship with Robert is among the most famous of all time would have been 208 today
• Blog: Elizabeth Barrett Browning's five best poems
The latest Google Doodle celebrates the birthday of Victorian poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning. She was one of the most highly regarded poets of her era and, unusually for the early Victorian period, arguably outshone her husband, a fellow poet.
According to the Poetry Foundation, "An example of the reach of her fame may be seen in the influence she had upon a recluse poet who lived in the rural college town of Amherst, Massachusetts. A framed portrait of Mrs Browning hung in the bedroom of Emily Dickinson, whose life, she said, was transfigured by the poetry of 'that Foreign Lady'." Many other writers, including Edgar Allan Poe, have credited her as an inspiration for their work.
Born in Durham in 1806 to a family of plantation owners, Elizabeth was the oldest of 12 children and soon came to despise the slavery her family depended on.
It was a work entitled Poems, published in 1844, that brought her to the attention of Robert Browning, six years her junior. The letter he wrote congratulating her on her work was the first of 574 that passed between them over two years.
The pair moved to Florence, where they lived out most of their married life. Elizabeth died, aged 55, in 1861.