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(c) The Italian years: 1846–1861

Amid the many emphases that could occur at this point, perhaps a literary one is the most important. This was to be a marriage of two poets, both differently but seriously committed to their art. Even during the courtship one subject of their letters was the poems that Browning was preparing for publication as Dramatic Romances and Lyrics (1845). (‘Pictor Ignotus’ [70-2], ‘The Bishop Orders His Tomb’ [75-6], ‘The Laboratory’ [78] and ‘The Lost Leader’ [78-80] are all originally from this volume.) Barrett saw the poems of this volume in manuscript, and – while continually asserting their quality and her faith in his genius – offered criticisms, queries, and suggestions about their wording. Most of these were adopted into the final versions. (The text of her comments is reproduced in full in Corr. xi. 375-92.) After this, she also commented on the plays Luria and A Soul’s Tragedy (1846).