Browning and His Century

Browning and His Century

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Browning and His Century by Helen Archibald Clarke

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1912

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Browning and His Century

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To the Boston Browning society in commemoration of the Browning centenary 1812-1912.

Book Excerpt

eral historians have been in the habit of assigning much space in their pages. Browning, however, as Hall Griffin informs us, had been familiar with the name of Paracelsus from his childhood, of whom he had read anecdotes in a queer book, Wanley's "Wonders of the Little World." Besides, his father's library, wherein as a boy he was wont to browse constantly, contained the Opera Omnia of Paracelsus.

With the confidence of youth and of genius the poet attempts in this poem a solution of the problem. To mind he gives the attribute of knowledge, to spirit the attribute of love.

The poem as a whole does not concern us here except as a background for its final thoughts. In order, however, to put the situation clearly before readers not already familiar with it, I venture to transcribe a portion of a former analysis of my own.

Paracelsus aspires to the acquisition of absolute knowledge and feels born within him the capabilities for attaining this end, and, when attained, it is to be dev

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