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Browningmania, America's Love for Robert Browning By Hédi Jaouad

Chapter :  Introduction
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Browningmania, America's Love for Robert Browning


From Anglophobia to Browningmania

Americans of all ages, all conditions, and all dispositions constantly form associations … of a thousand other kinds—religious, moral, serious, futile, general or restricted, enormous or diminutive … The Americans make associations to give entertainments, to found seminaries, to build inns, to construct churches, to diffuse books, to send missionaries to the antipodes … If it is proposed to inculcate some truth or to foster some feeling by the encouragement of a great example, they form a society.

—Alexis de Tocqueville (Democracy in America, 129)

All England can’t prevent his [Browning’s] existence, I suppose. But nobody there, except a small knot of pre-Raphaelite men, pretend to do him justice. Mr. Forster has done the best, in the press. As a sort of lion, Robert has his range in society and for the rest, you should see Chapman’s returns! While, in America he is a power, a writer, a poet. He is read there; he lives in the hearts of the people.

—Elizabeth Barrett Browning (Orr, Life and Letters, 233)