Anyone care to read the Browning letters with me?

I’ve been wanting to reread their letters for a while now anyway, and it would be more fun if other people read them with me! I’ve just downloaded an epub copy of the whole set of them from the New York Public Library (thanks, library!). Gutenberg only has the first volume available for epub, so if you can’t find the full version with both volumes, please say so in the comments and I’ll email you the epub file.

(I’ll do that regardless of whether or not you want to join me in this readalong, of course. I am not holding you hostage to my proposed readalong.)

But do you want to do a readalong? I will feel less dorky posting loads of excerpts if other people are doing the same — which you will, because you can’t help it, these people are good writers and also very sweet and lovable. The syntax can get Victorianly convoluted, which I know is not everybody’s jam. On the other hand, it is tremendously touching and great to watch two brilliant, talented, awesome people fall crazy-crazy in love with each other. You will fall in love with both of them yourself. You will not be able to help it.

If anyone is interested, I was thinking we’d start slow and then decide after two rounds of posting how the schedule is working, and if we’d want to speed it up or slow it down. But I thought we could start with something like:

First Monday – We’d read letters from January 1845 to March 1845, which is basically just them getting to know each other and exchanging fulsome and adorable compliments.

Two weeks from that Monday – Next we’d do letters from April and May 1845, which would get us through The Missing Letter (cue dramatic music) and its fallout.

After that, I was thinking readalong participants could let me know how the schedule was working, and I’ll use that feedback and make a schedule for the rest of the letters. I’ve got us at a nice leisurely pace to start, but I’m willing to pick up the pace if y’all JUST CANNOT WAIT to find out whether they elope or not. Spoiler alert: They do.

My lovely Mumsy, who some of you know from her hanging out at your blogs, has agreed to write a guest post or two for this readalong, which is very exciting because I am always trying to get her to write a guest post and she will only do it pretty rarely. And I would like to call out a few other bloggers whose ongoing thoughts on the Browning letters I’d like to hear, but I don’t want to make it awkward for them, so I won’t. But if you are reading this and thinking I wonder if Jenny means me?, the answer is most probably yes.

So if you are interested, let me know! And tell me when in the year would be most convenient for you.

13 thoughts on “Anyone care to read the Browning letters with me?

  1. I love the idea! For some reason, I thought the letters weren’t available in sites like Project Gutenberg. Silly me. They’re also in, in pdf and epub files. Just search for something like “robert barrett browning letters” and voilà!

  2. I would LOVE to do this. if you could send the .epub file to bethanyndotson AT gmail DOT com, that would be fantastic. I would be a super happy, er, reader. letter-books are my jam, and victorian letters? heaven.

    I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again–I am perfectly content to be a weirdo.

  3. OH. That is a seriously awesome idea. Which will throw my reading plans out a bit, but surely not too much and who needs plans anyway? I love throwing plans out. (Solzhenitsyn is staring at me reproachfully, but don’t worry Solzhenitsyn, I will read you too!) Please send me the second volume (WHY, Gutenberg? Why do you mock me?).

    Hang on, Google Books has got something that may be the second volume. Check out this link. Is that it?

  4. I have never read these! I think they might be worth it reading all the comments and enthousiasm. Can I join? But.. um, I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep to any schedule, as in: I am commenting 14 days late. So yeah..

  5. Pingback: The Past Two Months, Pt 2 | The Card Catalog

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