by Robert Browning
Analysis: Shout Outs
When poets refer to other great works, people, and events, it’s usually not accidental. Put on your super-sleuth hat and figure out why.
Some critics believe that "Porphyria's Lover" was inspired by a murder that was described in gory detail by John Wilson in 1818, only eighteen years before Browning wrote this poem. The story, "Extracts from Gosschen's Diary," tells us about a murderer who stabs his lover to death, and describes her blonde hair and blue eyes in loving detail. Browning would have been familiar with this story, since his friend and fellow poet, Bryan Procter, based a poem on it, too.