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Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $17.00
  • November 1995
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-96298-7
  • 584 pages
  • Territory Rights: Worldwide

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Aurora Leigh

Norton Critical Editions


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Elizabeth Barrett Browning (Author), Margaret Reynolds (Editor, University of Birmingham)


This Norton Critical Edition of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s 1856 verse-novel is based on Margaret Reynolds’ variorum edition, which the British Academy awarded the 1993 Rose Mary Crawshay Prize and which is reprinted here by special arrangement with the Ohio University Press.

The text is accompanied by both explanatory annotations and textual notes.

"Backgrounds and Contexts" includes thirty letters or letter excerpts by Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning that trace Aurora Leigh’s inception, evolution, and publication.

Seven contemporary documents—on the "woman question," prostitution, socialism, and poetic theory—place the text historically.

"Criticism" collects twenty-five assessments of Aurora Leigh from the period 1899–1993.

A wide range of opinion is provided by George Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Ellen Moers, Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar, Angela Leighton, Deirdre David, Dorothy Mermin, and Margaret Reynolds, among others.

A Chronology and Selected Bibliography are also included.


    The Text of Aurora Leigh

    1. Frontispiece of the 1859 Revised Fourth Edition
    2. Title Page for the Revised Fourth Edition
    3. Aurora Leigh
      1. A Note on the Text
      2. Selected Textual Notes

    Backgrounds and Criticism

    1. Letters of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning on Aurora Leigh
    2. Sarah Stickney Ellis, [The Declining Character of the Women of England and How It Might Be Rectified]
    3. Catherine Napier, [Women’s Rights and Duties]
    4. Dinah Mulock, A Woman’s Thoughts About Women
    5. Charles Fourier, [A Trial Phalanx]
    6. William Rathbone Greg, Prostitution
    7. M.A. Stodart, [Poetry and the Poetess]
    8. Elizabeth Barrett and Richard Hengist Horne, [Elizabeth Barrett on Thomas Carlyle and the “Prophet-Poet”]



    1. H.F. Chorley, From The Athenaeum (November 22, 1856)
    2. George Eliot, From Westminster Review (January 1857)
    3. W.E. Aytoun, From Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine (January 1857)
    4. Coventry Patmore, From North British Review (February 1857)
    5. John Nichol, From Westminster Review 68 (October 1857)


    1. Lilian Whiting, [The Lyrical Philosophy of Aurora Leigh]
    2. Marjory A. Bald, [The Negative Approach]
    3. Virginia Woolf, “Aurora Leigh
    4. J.M.S. Tompkins, [Aurora’s Mistakes]
    5. Ellen Moers, [The Myth of Corinne]
    6. Cora Kaplan, [The Right to Write]
    7. Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar, [Reconciling Love and Work]
    8. Rachel Blau DuPlessis, To “bear my mother’s name”: Kanstlerromane by Women Writers
    9. Susan Standford Friedman, Gender and Genre Anxiety: Elizabeth Barrett Browning and H.D. as Epic Poets
    10. Angela Leighton, ‘“Come with me, sweetest sister”’: The Poet’s Last Quest
    11. Deirdre David, From Intellectual Women and Victorian Patriarchy
    12. Marjorie Stone, Genre Subversion and Gender Inversion: The Princess and Aurora Leigh
    13. Helen M. Cooper, [Structure and Narrative in Aurora Leigh]
    14. Dorothy Mermin, [The Idea of the Mother in Aurora Leigh]
    15. Alison Case, Gender and Narration in Aurora Leigh
    16. Joyce Zanona, “The Embodied Muse”: Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Aurora Leigh and Feminist Poetics
    17. Holly A. Laird, Aurora Leigh: An Epical Ars Poetica
    18. Angela Leighton, [Men and Women: Poetry and Politics]
    19. Margaret Reynolds, [Allusion in the Verse-Novel: Experimental Bricolage]

    Elizabeth Barrett Browning: A Chronology

    Selected Bibliography