BROWNING, Elizabeth Barrett (1806-1861). Autograph note signed ('Elizabeth Barrett Browning') to [C.S.Francis], London, 21 October 1856, seven lines of writing on one page, small 8vo, integral blank (roughly cut at lower edge, slightly browned at right-hand edge, small ink blot in blank portion of leaf, remains of guard on verso of 2nd leaf), and: BROWNING, Robert (1812-1889). Two autograph letters signed ('Robert Browning') to C.S. Francis, Paris, 18 June 1856 and London, 17 October 1856, and one (signed also on behalf of Elizabeth, 'E. and Robert Browning') to the same, London, 21 October 1856, together 7½ pages, 8vo (slightly browned at edges, traces of guards on verso, touching 3 words on verso of letter of 18 June, tiny split in one centre-fold); in a red morocco case; together with a manuscript copy of a letter by Robert Browning, 25 April 1866, commenting on the publication of one of his works; and a manuscript copy of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's poem, 'The pet-name', 4 pages, 4to.
Four letters relating to the first American edition of Aurora Leigh. Elizabeth Barrett Browning's note (enclosed with her husband's of the same date) gives to C.S. Francis the exclusive rights to the poem: 'Having received what I consider to be sufficient remuneration for my poem of "Aurora Leigh" from Mr Francis of New York, it is my earnest desire that his right in this & in future editions of the same, may not be interfered with'. The note is printed on the 1st leaf of the first American edition.
Robert Browning's letter of 18 June refers to Francis's previous offer 'of £75 for a poem of 8000 lines', politely explaining 'that six months more of hard work have added considerably above 2000 lines to the rest. I believe I might roughly say, 2500: the poem is worth so much more by that ... you will find it a sort of novel in verse'; and putting it to him 'whether you would not be justified in "rounding" the 75 to £100', also 'throwing into the bargain' the corrected proofs of the new edition of 'E.B.B.'s Poems now passing through the press', and stipulating that the new poem is not to be published before its publication in England. His second letter announces that the sheets up to page 336 have been sent, and more will follow next week, asking Francis to remit the money to him care of Reuben Browning at Messrs Rothschild and Sons. On the eve of their departure for Florence (21 October) he confirms that the remainder of the poem and the dedication have been sent, adding that 'Chapman will not publish before Nov. 15, at my particular request'.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning began the composition of Aurora Leigh early in 1853, when she and Robert returned to Florence from an extended visit to England. It was not completed until June 1856, and the transcription of the last books was finished in London, where Browning noted on the fair copy on 9 July that he had read 'this divine book'. The Brownings remained in London to correct the proofs, before sending them on to Francis, who had agreed to the higher price.The first edition, dedicated to John Kenyon, appeared simultaneously in England and America on 15 November (both postdated 1857). (3)