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by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
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Aurora Leigh, now available in the first critically edited and fully annotated edition for almost a century, is the foremost example of the mid-nineteenth century poem of contemporary life. It is an amazing verse novel which provides a panoramic view of the early Victorian age in London. The
dominant presence in the work however, is the narrator Aurora Leigh, as she develops her ideas on art, love, God, the "Woman Question", and society.
The Merriam-Webster Encylopedia of Literature
Novel in blank verse by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, published in 1857. The first-person narrative, which comprises some 11,000 lines, tells of the heroine's childhood and youth in Italy and England, her self-education in her father's hidden library, and her successful pursuit of a literary career. Initially resisting a marriage proposal by the philanthropist Romney Leigh, Aurora later surrenders her independence and weds her faithful suitor, whose own idealism has also since been tempered by experience. Aurora's career, Romney's social theories, and a melodramatic subplot concerning forced prostitution elicit the author's vivid observations on the importance of poetry, the individual's responsibility to society, and the victimization of women. Although it was a great popular success, Aurora Leigh was not admired by critics.
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