Department Chair

Dr. Ralph L. Wahlstrom

Date of Award


Access Control

Open Access

Degree Name

English Education (7-12), M.S.Ed.


English Department


Dr. Angela B. Fulk

Department Home page

First Reader

Dr. Angela B. Fulk

Second Reader

Dr. Mark K. Fulk


In 1833, John Stuart Mill criticized Browning’s very first poem, Pauline: A Fragment of a Confession, because he claimed that it overexposed the author. What Mill meant by this was that he thought Browning was self-obsessed and depressed. This criticism affected Browning’s writings throughout the middle of his career by provoking him to formulate dramatic monologues in an attempt to distance himself from the narrators he created. But even though Browning was careful not to overexpose himself, his self-consciousness still made its way through to the reader. Browning exposes himself through his narrators in “My Last Duchess,” “Porphyria’s Lover,” and “Andrea del Sarto.” In each of these works, Browning shows growing comfort with writing in a more personal voice and exposing his social views. By 1887, when Parleyings with Certain People of Importance in Their Day was published, Browning had come to terms with Mill’s criticism. The fictional conversations in this work allowed Browning to write from his own personal perspective and include his philosophies on life and writing.