From the back cover: In June 1860 Browning picked up an old book off a stall in Florence. It contained documents relating to the trial of Count Guido Franceschini for the murder of his wife, whom he accused of adultery with a young priest. Franceschini had been executed, together with four accomplices, in 1698. The story became the basis of The Ring and The Book, Browning's most ambitious poem and an astonishing tour de force of dramatic verse. Its greatness lies in its form: subjective versions of the events are relayed from a multiplicity of viewpoints, in myriad voices from the gossip of the man in the street to the pleading of lawyers. Professor Altick's edition--the first fully annotated version of this work--rises triumphantly to the challenge of both the wide range of curious information Browning employs and his immense, flexible and frequently eccentric vocabulary.