Sonnets From the Portuguese

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Sonnets from the Portuguese, written circa 1845–1846 & 1st published in 1850 as a collection of forty-four love sonnets. The poems largely chronicle the period leading up to her 1846 marriage to Robert Browning. Elizabeth was initially hesitant to publish the poems, feeling that they were too personal. However, her husband insisted that they were the best sequence of English-language sonnets since Shakespeare’s time and urged her to publish them. To offer the couple some privacy, she decided that she might publish them under a title disguising the poems as translations of foreign sonnets. Therefore, the collection was first to be known as Sonnets from the Bosnian, until Robert suggested that she change their imaginary original language to Portuguese, probably after her admiration for Camões and his nickname for her: “my little Portuguese.” Illustrated by Alma-Tadema’s “Quiet Greeting”

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