September 1849–January 1851, Letters 2813–2900
Volume 16 opens with the Brownings continuing their summer stay at Bagni di Lucca. Shortly after their return to Florence in October, EBB suffers her third miscarriage. The Athenæum suggests EBB as a candidate for the poet laureateship, following the death of William Wordsworth in April. In the same month, EBB’s sister Henrietta marries and is immediately disowned by her father Edward Moulton-Barrett. Supporting documents printed in this volume contain revealing glimpses into his relationship with his children. In July EBB endures a fourth miscarriage, and RB takes her to Siena to convalesce. The letters document new friendships for the Brownings, including American writer Margaret Fuller and Isa Blagden, an Englishwoman of Eurasian heritage who will become an intimate of both poets. The Brownings publish important works during this period: RB’s Christmas-Eve and Easter-Day in April 1850 and EBB’s Poems (1850) in November. The many contemporary reviews of the two books appear in this volume.