In seventeen volumes, copublished with Baylor University, this acclaimed series features annotated texts of all of Robert Browning’s known writing. The series encompasses autobiography as well as influences bearing on Browning’s life and career and aspects of Victorian thought and culture.?
A single work, the complex Aristophanes’ Apology (1875), comprises the twelfth volume of The Complete Works of Robert Browning. Second in Browning’s series of long narrative poems based on classical Greek materials, Aristophanes’ Apology begins as a further adventure of Browning’s young Greek heroine, Balaustion (previously encountered in Balaustion’s Adventure, in Volume X of the present edition). In a confrontation with Aristophanes, Balaustion defends her (and Browning’s) favorite tragedian, Euripides, whom Aristophanes had repeatedly satirized. Aristophanes offers an ingenious, vigorous explanation of his motives and values, but Browning ensures that Balaustion claims the higher moral and artistic ground for Euripides. To demonstrate his greatness, she reads Euripides’ play Herakles aloud, in Browning’s own translation.?
Browning’s understanding of this play and its author, like his view of Greek drama overall, is both idiosyncratic and strongly held. He energetically takes up artistic and philosophical issues ancient and modern through his dramatized speaker. Many interpreters have noted that the charges against Euripides are parallel to Victorian critics’ complaints about Browning’s own works, and that the poet’s justification of Euripides constitutes a vehement defense of his art.?
As always in this acclaimed series, a complete record of textual variants is provided, as well as extensive explanatory notes.
“The Ohio edition offers a virtual rare bookroom full of texts for any Browning poems where the determined critic can trace the author’s changing intentions and craft.”
-- Victorian Poetry
“The editorial policy of the Ohio edition has always been completeness, with the recording of all variants, changes, and corrections made by the poet himself, and these volumes continue that aim with admirable care and painstaking attention to detail.”
-- Journal of Browning Studies
“The Ohio [Browning] is everything a reader could wish.”