The novel Possession contains some spot-on mimicry of several different writing styles, including lengthy poems by two fictional Victorian poets. The character of RH Ash in particular feels as if there is some model, or models, for him. He has a very distinct style and a distinct set of interests (including naturalism and Greek and Norse myths).

Is he similar to Tennyson, or Browning, or some other real poet, or an amalgam? Or is he purely Byatt's creation?


1 Answer 1


Wikipedia makes a claim, apparently based on this article by the New York Times, that Randolph Henry Ash is based on Robert Browning and/or Alfred Lord Tennyson.

Not having read the book, I can't really offer any further commentary.

  • 1
    I caught an interview with the author the other day (bbc.co.uk/worldservice/specials/133_wbc_archive_new/page2.shtml) which confirms the article's thoughts: Ash is based on Browning and Tennyson, and LaMotte is based on Rosetti (as well as Dickinson). Commented May 2, 2017 at 17:29
  • When I read the book, I assumed he was based on Browning. But I probably just missed the similarities with Tennyson.
    – Peter Shor
    Commented Mar 24, 2019 at 18:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.