ISBN 9788171560714,Browning Cyclopaedia: A Guide to the Study of the Works of Robert Browning

Browning Cyclopaedia: A Guide to the Study of the Works of Robert Browning


Edward Berdoe


Atlantic Books



Atlantic Books

Publication Year 1989

ISBN 9788171560714

ISBN-10 8171560717


Number of Pages 598 Pages
Language (English)

Literature fiction

Browning, like James Joyce, demands elucidation. Browning is obscure but he is, thanks to books like Browning Cyclopaedia by Edward Berdoe, no longer frightening. This is no ordinary book of ready reference. The author does not merely provide facts and items of information under alphabeti¬cally arranged entries; he also provides scholarly, critical and detailed commentary on obscure illusions and hidden meanings that abound in the poems of Browning. Each entry in the Browning Cyclopaedia, thus not only informs us but aids and enhances our understanding of one of the most learned and scholarly poets who ever wrote in the English language. This book is a veritable boon to the student, scholar, researcher and classroom teacher and must find a permanent niche in libraries.
"Up to its appearance there was no single book to which the reader could turn, which gave an exposition of the leading ideas of every poem, its key-note, the sources--historical, legendary, or fanciful--to which the poem was due, and a glossary of every difficult word or allusion which might obscure the sense to such readers as had short memories of scanty reading. It would be affectation to pretend to believe that every educated person ought to know, without the aid of such a work as this, what Browning means by phrases and allusions which may be found by hundreds in his works. The wisest reader cannot be expected to remember, even if he has ever learned, a host of remote incidents in Italian history, for example, to say nothing of classical terms which 'every school boy' ought to know, but rarely does", says the author forthrightly and it shall be pretentious to disagree with him.
While welcoming the presence of such a critical and informative work, as the Browning Cyclopaedia, one is made more acutely aware of its value by Browning's own observation on his poems : "that my writing has been in the main too hard for many I should have been pleased to communicate with; but I never designedly tried to puzzle people, as some of my critics have supposed. On the other hand, I never pretend to offer such literature as should be a substitute for a cigar or a game at dominoes to an idle man". Surely, Browning's poetry is not for the idle reader. It challenges both the reader's intellect and intelligence. And Edward Berdoe's Cyclopaedia is an intelligent reader's necessary guide to Browning.