Romanticism in Aurora Leigh

I find Aurora Leigh have many Romantic aspects.  Aurora has a feminist resoluteness about her, she determines not to marry where she doesn’t feel love and instead wants to go off on her own and make it as a legitimate artist in the world of literature and poetry.  Similar to the somewhat feminist pieces we read earlier in the semester, Elizabeth Barrett Browning shows true grit and character in her view of a woman being able to make it in a man’s world.  It could be seen as a headstrong, youthful desire to be free and independent.   This is a romantic ideal that reverberates through the work as we continually see Aurora plunging forward as a strong and capable woman (you go, girl!).   Also seen in Browning’s poem-novel are aspects similar to what we have read from other Victorian authors such as  Mayhew.  Aurora Leigh shows the underbelly of society in many ways, most especially seen in the character of Marian Erle, who has gone through unimaginable horrors in her lifetime.  We also see those Victorian aspects in Romney Leigh, who’s philanthropic efforts are not as enthusiastically reciprocated from those he tries to help.  In addition to that, Aurora is a character who finds herself without money, rejecting the offer of fortune and safety by way of marriage to her cousin Romney.  Because of this, we get to see her pull herself up by her bootstraps and make a name for herself in the realm of literature and art, which brings us back full circle to the Romantic feminism.

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One thought on “Romanticism in Aurora Leigh

  1. The theme of defiance which seems to be recurring throughout Aurora Leigh, as you rightly pointed out, hints at the youthfulness of the writer, Elizabeth Browning.
    As an extra point, could it be the advent of industrialization that fuels this feministic idea that she expresses? As there is a proliferation of jobs in this period, she, like Mary Wollstonecraft seem to come to the realization that there should be full equality between men and women, since the jobs they perform in the society are not all that different.

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