Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Kenneth L. Knickerbocker

Committee Members

Alwin Thaler, Bain T. Stewart, Reinhold Nordsieck, LeRoy Graf


Because Browning’s late work has often been considered inferior to his early work and because his fame suffered a decline soon after his death, there has been no thorough study of Asolando Fancies and Facts, his final volume. A close reading of these poems shows that this neglect is unjustifiable, for the collection contains some of Browning’s best work after The Ring and the Book and reveals significant facts about his poetic development, coming as it does at the very end of his life. Therefore it is the purpose of this study to examine the volume as completely as possible, considering its composition and critical reception, analyzing each of the individual poems, and then relating the poems to the whole of Browning’s work. In so doing, the study will show that Asolando is a carefully prepared volume with each poem related to a central theme, which is set forth in the subtitle, Fancies and Facts. The study will also show that although Browning’s thought is more or less consistent throughout his work, the tone and techniques of this volume are much closer to those employed in the poems of his middle years, which are universally regarded as the high points of his poetic production, than they are to those used in the volumes immediately preceding Asolando.

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