"My Last Duchess," in contrast, has no dead body to revivify, but this monologue uses the aesthetic representation of the body as a substitute through which to renew the violent pleasure of subjection.
"My Last Duchess" (and "Porphyria's Lover," as well), deliberately and depravedly makes grotesque violence beautiful--its language colludes with its psychopathic narrator by creating a gorgeous, painted corpse, by aesthetically entering into a psychology that savors memorialization as a constant re-enactment of death's initial violence.
I've been thinking of this unreliable narrator thing since reading My Last Duchess
, and, in the manner of the Victorian novels, my detective doesn't even have a name.
(Of course, the narratee and the authorial audience may interpret that same information differently.) My case about "My Last Duchess
" is that this convergence can be found in every line except 49.
Agnes, he uses a similar approach in "My Last Duchess
," save that here the intermediary text is even clearer in its Ovidian echoes.
Thus in "My Last Duchess
," in "Bishop Blougram's Apology," in many of his best poems, Browning is a public writer with disturbing private tendencies: He never pushes exposure or criticism past the point of pleasure, and his work as a whole gives an effect of hard impersonal brilliance.
Among new articles for 2010, Tyler Efird's "'Anamorphosizing': Male Sexual Fantasy in Browning's Monologue" (Mosaic 43 : 151-166) presents a sophisticated reading of "My Last Duchess
" in Lacanian terms, engaging with specific critical positions (Sussman's "ethics of control" and Knoepflmacher on irony), offering readers an overview of Lacan on "anamorphic" images, and arriving at some original critical formulations through these proceedings.
My favourite read this year was Daisy Goodwin, My Last Duchess
(Headline Review pounds 12.99).
Nevertheless, as many readings of "My Last Duchess
" show, "this most dramatically paragonal of all ekphrastic poems" (Heffernan 144) undermines such a simple scheme of moving or fixing readers.
My Last Duchess
Poem of 56 lines in rhyming couplets by Robert BROWNING, published in 1842 in Dramatic Lyrics , a volume in his Bells and Pomegranates series.
MY LAST DUCHESS
by Daisy goodwin (headline pounds 12.99)
Though the form is chiefly associated with Browning, Robert, who raised it to a highly sophisticated level in such poems as "My Last Duchess
," "The Bishop Orders His Tomb at St.