Men and Women, by Robert Browning

William Morris

General Description

Date: 1856
Genre: review


◦ Georgiana Burne–Jones, Memorials.

◦ Mackail, J. W. Life of William Morris .

Scholarly Commentary

Guest Editor: PC Fleming


This essay on Robert Browning is Morris’s only review in The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine. Mackail claims that it is also the only instance of Morris voluntarily taking on the role of reviewer (91). Like the other reviews in the Magazine, it is overwhelmingly positive. When founding the Magazine, the brotherhood had decided that there was to be “no shewing off, no quips, no sneers, no lampooning” (Memorials 116, Mackail 81) and the reviews generally stay consistent with this declaration.

Morris was probably influenced by William Michael Rossetti’s essay on Browning, published in the fourth issue of The Germ. Morris and Burne-Jones had read The Germ the year before (Memorials 110, Mackail 71), and The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine was in part an imitation of the PRB’s magazine. Morris mentions the PRB at the end of this essay, as he draws parallels between Browning and other contemporary artists whom, he feels, critics have not treated fairly. He also mentions Tennyson and Ruskin in this context. Both were heroes to the Morris brotherhood (see Fulford’s essay on Tennyson and Burne-Jones’s defense of Ruskin).

As is the case with many of the articles in the Magazine, it seems that Morris intended to write more about Browning in later issues. Lamenting that he only had space to discuss a few of Browning’s poems, he writes “My consolation is, that we shall have a good deal more to say of Robert Browning in this Magazine, and then we can make amends” (171). This plan was abandoned, and no other essay in the Magazine says anything more about Browning.

Printing History

First printed in The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine , March, 1856.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: Morris006.raw.xml