Robert Bridges Analysis

Other literary forms

Although Robert Bridges wrote poetry extensively, he was also a prolific scholar. His monograph on Milton’s Prosody: An Examination of the Rules of the Blank Verse in Milton’s Later Poems with an Account of the Versification of “Samson Agonistes (1893, 1901) is a model of research. His Collected Essays, Papers, Etc. have been published in thirty parts by Oxford University Press (1927-1936). Bridges is probably most known in modern times for his correspondence with Gerard Manley Hopkins. Hopkins’s letters to Bridges have been published (Oxford University Press, 1935, 1955), but Bridges destroyed his letters to Hopkins. The Correspondence of Robert Bridges and Henry Bradley, 1900-1923 has been published (1940), as well as his Three Friends: Memoirs of Digby Mackworth Dolben, Richard Watson Dixon, and Henry Bradley (1932). Bridges also wrote a few poems in Latin.


Robert Bridges was poet laureate of England from 1913 until his death in 1930. In the last years of his life, he was generally thought to be the leading lyric poet of his time. His restrained, classical style was opposed to the extremes of Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot and the rising tide of modernism in literature. Since his death, Bridges has fallen into obscurity. His six volumes of collected poems and plays are seldom read, even by specialists. Even if Bridges is not rehabilitated as a poet, however, he will be remembered as a significant scholar and editor. Bridges saved the poems of his friend Gerard Manley Hopkins from obscurity by editing them in 1918; thus he gave the world one of the major precursors of modernism. Bridges’s studies of language and metrics were pioneering work, and he was one of the first to carry out real literary research in the modern sense. Finally, he is an important innovator in poetic form, whose discoveries place him on a par with acknowledged revolutionaries such as Eliot, Pound, Hopkins, and Walt Whitman as a creator of new forms of expression in poetic language.


Guérard, Albert, Jr. Robert Bridges: A Study of Traditionalism in Poetry. 1942. Reprint. New York: Russell & Russell, 1965. This standard work on Bridges includes a comprehensive study of the lyric, dramatic, and philosophical poems. Guérard contends that Bridges is misunderstood if regarded only as a poet of happy emotions and that he is intensely serious, with a view of life that is far from completely rosy. The dramatic poems and plays form the bulk of Bridges’s work, and their study has been neglected. This book, heavily influenced by the critic Yvor Winters, defends Bridges’s traditionalism. Includes a conspectus of Bridges’s sources and analogues.

Holmes, John. “The Growth of The Growth of Love Texts and Poems in Robert Bridges’s Sonnet Sequence.” Review of English Studies 55, no. 221 (September, 2004): 583-597. Article examines whether the different texts of The Growth of Love are different versions of the same poem or are actually different poems. Holmes looks at the publishing history of the poems, analyzes changes and revisions, and compares techniques.

Phillips, Catherine. Robert Bridges. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992. This biography discusses the ways in which Bridges reflected his Victorian background and examines his friendship with Gerard Manley Hopkins. Phillips demonstrates the ways in which...

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