Casey Harvey's Reviews > Aurora Leigh

Aurora Leigh by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
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Jul 28, 14

bookshelves: reviewed-books, classics, books-i-own
Read from September 30 to October 20, 2011

Cited as both a novel and verse, Browning's modern epic Aurora Leigh raises everyday life into the ranks of other epic tales such as King Arthur or Hercules, arguing that a true epic poem mirrors reality and not some grandiose, mythic character and/or story. Following the story of the titular character in a true kunstlerroman, Browning highlights specific issues certainly central to the Victorian age of her writing and applicable to the current period: the role of the (female) artist, class bias, changing gender standards, etc. Thematically, Browning's poem definitely ruminates on interesting, contemporary struggles that a modern reader can still connect to.

In style and the meat of the poem, Browning's verse is very approachable for the modern reader, staying away from certain artistic practices that can make a poem much more difficult to get through such as Milton's practice of changing words in order to adhere to meter. The story of Aurora Leigh is certainly straight-forward enough and the reader can easily follow the dialogue and sequence of events in the story.

Overall, I would recommend reading Aurora Leigh and will say that the only thing that I found to be a deterrance was the somewhat genericness of the plot - essentially, a gothic romance in the victorian era. The poem is definitely similar in its romantic aspect with Bronte's Jane Eyre and, for me, it made the plot almost repetitive and dull; however, the sub-plots featuring Marian and Lady Waldemar and even simply Aurora's long monologue's on nature and art and society were enough to leave me enjoying the poem without seeing it as a rehash of Jane and Rochester.
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Reading Progress

10/02/2011 page 37
9.0%
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