Review by Choice Review
Kennedy's study of Browning's Asolando is a useful and instructive introduction to the poet's last volume, often neglected, more often misunderstood because of its "personal" tone. Building on previous studies dealing with Browning's last years, particularly Michael Meredith's More Than Friend (1985) and Clyde de L. Ryals's Browning's Later Poetry, 1871-1889 (CH, Apr'76), Kennedy provides a fuller biographical and thematic context for the volume as a whole than these do, and he offers analyses and descriptions of the individual pieces it contains that enhance both our appreciation and understanding of the poems. Especially helpful are his discussions of Browning's ambivalent--often conflicting--views of fact and fancy, the romantic and real, particularly as reflected in specific poems such as "Flute-Music, with an Accompaniment," "Summum Bonum," and "Now." Overall, this work succeeds in meeting the goal of the author, who states in his introduction that he has addressed not "scholars," but readers "deeply responsive to literature, especially the poetry of Robert Browning." Advanced undergraduate; graduate; faculty. M. Timko; Queens College, CUNY
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.