Elizabeth Barrett Browning Research Paper

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The Life and Times of E.B.B. Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861) During the early nineteenth century, feminists were first coming out into the political forefront. Among them, Elizabeth Barrett Browning emerged as one the greatest woman writers of all time. She wrote of "social reform, for the rights of lower classes and women, and for the cause of Italian freedom (Lewis)." While many aspects and circumstances of life affected her work, she was also able to effect society in many ways. Elizabeth Barrett was born on March 6, 1806 in Durham, England (Shilstone). Her first published work was The Battle of Marathon, which she wrote at the age of only 12. "It was an epic of sorts consisting of 4 books" (PoemHunter). When she was…show more content…
The poem, which explores the Woman Question (as it was referred to by contemporaries) dramatizes the modern woman's severe need for mothers--for nurturing political and literary female ancestors. In examining the growth and development of a woman poet, Aurora Leigh shows that women have crippled themselves by internalizing partiarchal or androcentric conceptions of themselves. When Aurora first rejects her arrogant beloved, she is not freed of the interiorized male constructions of women--she simply displaces Romney from the center of power, speaking of herself with images of male power in an attempt to feminize him. Only when both characters can break free from the conceptual structures opressing them, can she fully become the woman, wife, and poet that…show more content…
In presenting her heroine's path to poetic and personal maturity, Ms. Browning not only explored the Victorian relation between gender and genre, but she also created a female literary tradition that alluded to her predecessors. Her work draws upon novels written by women, such as Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre (1847), where the female protagonist's status as an orphan with a cruel aunt, proposal by St. John River, and Rochester's blindness appearing in both pieces. Another contribution to female tradition is the use of gynocentric, rather than andocentric, imagery. Barrett Browning's poem substitutes female, rather than male, types from the Old Testament, and even when describing men, uses female mythical figures for her analogies. These images and comparisons, that are driven by the poem's most serious concerns, represent an important imaginative achievement in themselves for the time. A common theme in Victorian poetry is that men project all of their desires onto

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