Saturday, May 12, 2007

Browning's the Ring and the Book

Hey, I'm trying to get through Browning's The Ring and the Book and at this point it truly feels like I'm "trying to get through."

I know this book is brilliant as it comes to me with the highest possible praise from someone I respect, but I am finding it a very difficult read. Perhaps novel-length poetry just isn't my thing, but I would dearly love to be getting more out of it.

And geez, it's essentially a crime epic. Crime fascinates me.

Anyway, does anybody who has read it have any advice?



1 comment:

LinguistFriend said...

My Hampton friend Harold Chapman
(pianist and composer) turned The Ring and the Book" into an opera which I think was produced at Emory University. Get a copy of the shorter opera libretto and read that instead, then go back to the book (Harold's daughter Catharine lives in your area somewhere). There is a seful discussion in William C. DeVane's "Browning Handbook", which may be in your good local library system. But Browning was hard on the English language in general, and I also find his longer poems hard to read. James Murray, the main OED editor, told his son Oswyn that
"Browning constantly used words without regard to their proper meaning. He has added greatly to the difficulties of the Dictionary."