Aurora Leigh

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806 – 1861) completed this controversial nine-book novel in blank verse form in 1856. It was epic in scope, reflecting a range of contemporary social issues, such as the limited education available to women at the time. The first-person narrator becomes a poet, but her artistic vocation seems incompatible with a woman’s conventional, traditional domestic roles as wife and mother. Aurora initially rejects a marriage proposal from her cousin Romney, but ultimately they resolve their differences and marry. A subplot concerns the poverty-stricken seamstress Marian Erle, a victim of terrible abuse. 

Creator:
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Published:
1857
Forms:
Poem
Genre:
Victorian Literature
Literary period:
Victorian

Related articles

Elizabeth Barrett Browning: social and political issues

Article by
Simon Avery
Themes: 
Victorian poetry, Power and politics

From industrialisation to slavery, Dr Simon Avery looks at the 19th century social and political issues that fed into Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poetry.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning and the Woman Question

Article by
Simon Avery
Themes: 
Gender and sexuality, Victorian poetry

Dr Simon Avery considers how Elizabeth Barrett Browning used poetry to explore and challenge traditional Victorian roles for women, assessing the early influences on her work and thought.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning: style, subject and reception

Article by
Simon Avery
Theme: 
Victorian poetry

Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poetic form encompasses lyric, ballad and narrative, while engaging with historical events, religious belief and contemporary political opinion. Dr Simon Avery considers how her experimentation with both the style and subject of her poetry affected its reception during the 19th century.

Related collection items

Related people

Related works

A Christmas Carol

Created by: Charles Dickens

A Christmas book by Charles Dickens (1812 – 1870), published in 1843. Dickens was prompted to write this ...

Adam Bede

Created by: George Eliot

Adam Bede is George Eliot’s first full-length novel, and embodies the realist aims she would continue to ...

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Created by: Lewis Carroll

This fantasy novel of 1865 was originally entitled Alice’s Adventures Under Ground. It was written by the ...

Far from the Madding Crowd

Created by: Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy’s (1840 – 1928) fourth novel, published in 1874, proved popular and successful. Its title ...