[Note 10, Chapter Three, in print version]

Linda H. Peterson convincingly argues that Browning thus employs typology as part of his career-long concern with the problems of meaning and interpretation. She demonstrates, furthermore, that he organizes The Ring and the Book around such questions. Thus, the first and last books employ typology in relation to the role of the poet himself. Then, in the first triad [Books 2-4] the monologuists interpret the Francheschini case by correlating its participants and events directly with the Old Testament types. In the second triad, however, the monologuists do not correlate their experiences with the type but instead link themselves directly with the New Testament antitype. Almost as if they have heard Rome speak, they complete the pattern of prefiguration and fulfillment, presenting either Guido or Pompilia as the "fulfillment" and thus making the structural arrangement of the first two triads resemble the relationship of Old and New Testaments (167-68) .... If by Book VII we have already judged the case and established the 'spiritual guilt, of the participants, as Chesterton puts it, what is Browning's concern in the remainder of the poem? Quite simply, in Books VIII through XI he tests the validity of the typological method itself, of the patterns it considers authoritative and of the Christian view of history it implies (182).


Victorian Web main screen Biblical Typology Contents

Print version published 1980; web version 1998