Georgiana Burne–Jones, Memorials.◦
Mackail, J. W. Life of William Morris .
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
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
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.
First printed in
The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine
, March, 1856.