My love of solitude is growing with my growth

Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s diary, 11 Oct 1831
The New York Public Library

Elizabeth Barrett Browning was an eminent 19th-century British poet most famous for her two-volume collection, Poems, published in 1844, and the verse novel Aurora Leigh, which came out in 1856. It was in 1831, three years after the death of her mother, that Barrett Browning kept a twelve-month diary, and its entries paint a vivid picture of a young lady leading a somewhat solitary life, due in no small part to spinal problems and lung disease that plagued her for the rest of her life. She eventually found love, and in 1846 married fellow poet Robert Browning. She died in Florence in 1861.

The Diary Entry

Tuesday. Oct. 11th. [1831]

My love of solitude is growing with my growth. I am inclined to shun the acquaintance of those whom I do not like & love; on account of the ennui: & the acquaintance of those whom I might like & love,—on account of the pain!—Oh the pain attendant on liking & loving, may seem a little cloud,—but it blots from us all the light of the sun!!

Further Reading

Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s diary lives at the New York Public Library’s Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature, and its handwritten pages can be viewed on their website. In 1969 it was published by Ohio University Press, edited by Philip Kelley and Ronald Hudson, with the title Diary by E.B.B.: The Unpublished Diary of Elizabeth Barrett Barrett, 1831–1832.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *