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Elizabeth Barrett Browning was the oldest of the twelve children of the posessive Edward Barett Moulton-Barrett and his wife Mary.  She began writing poetry early in life and by 1838 had published three volumes.  Her famous courtship by the poet Robert Browning was expressed in numerous letters and her popular Sonnets from the Portuguese (1850). Barrett held progressive views which were expressed in her later poems which were often concerned with political and social issues.

Spender, D, Todd, J, 1990, Anthology of British women writers from the Middle Ages to the present day, London, Pandora,pp.465-466