Elizabeth Barret Browning was born 1806 in Durham England.  She was a sickly child and this time of semi-invalidism she found the escape of reading philosophy, history, and literatures as her only true escape.  In 1838 the Barret family moved to London and six years after the move, Elizabeth published her first poetry book called PoemsHer first work Poems brought her instant recognition as a poet and also caught the eye of another poet named Robert Browning.  After reading the poems he started to correspond with her and subsequently he started courting her.  The courtship was to remain a secret due to opposition from Elizabeth's domineering father.  Elizabeth and Robert married in 1846 and traveled to Italy and where they stayed for most of their lives and its where their son was born. 

Elizabeth Browning was very active in the politics of Italy, and championed the cause of Italian liberation from Austria and the Browning house "Casa Guidi" in Florence is preserved as a memorial for her efforts.  Italy was very agreeable to Elizabeth, her health improved greatly and her poetry gained even more notoriety.  Her greatest work, Sonnets from the Portuguese (1850) was inspired by her love for her husband and the story of their relationship.  Casa Guidi Windows (1851), inspired by the Italian liberation movement, and Aurora Leigh (1857) which was a novel in verse.

Elizabeth Barret Browning died in 1861, her life was marked with great successes as a poet and she had garnered far more fame then her husband Robert, but most modern scholars when looking at Elizabeth Barret Browning also look at her life and relationship with Robert.  Her Sonnets from the Portuguese is no less then a love letter to her husband and it is hard to separate her poetry from her loving relationship with her husband.

If you would like to read a more extensive biography on Elizabeth Barrett Browning, I would suggest you go to your library or do a search on Yahoo for other biographical resources.