Decorative Initial Aurora Leigh flees from an existence which proscribes separate spheres for each gender. The ambivalence that Aurora feels towards women is evident from the beginning of the book. Barbara Gelpi points to the lack of attractive female characters in the novel besides Aurora. Mothers are cold, self-centered, and destructive. Marian Erle's own mother is beaten by her father, and Marian, in turn, is beaten by her mother. According to David, "the principal object of Aurora's contempt is less the male cultural authority which denigrates woman's mind, than it is male inability to feel" (129). However strongly one may feel that Aurora Leigh is a feminist text, questions of class undercut feminist views concerning the woman artist in a commercial market. Both Aurora and Lady Waldemar support themselves. Lady Waldemar has her own fortune while Aurora earns her living through her writing, but neither one could be said to represent the great majority of the Victorian women. Marian herself is objectified in the discussions between Lady Waldemar, Aurora, and Romney, where each takes care of (or disposes of) Marian Erle according to their needs (Houston).

Related Materials


David, Deirdre. " 'Art's a Service': Social Wound, Sexual Politics, and Aurora Leigh."Browning Insitute Studies 13. (1985): 113-36.

Gelpi, Barbara Charlesworth."Aurora Leigh: The Vocation of the Woman Poet."Victorian Poetry .19. (1981): 35-48.

Houston, Gail Turley. "Gender Construstion and Kunstlerroman: David Copperfield and Aurora Leigh." Philological Quarterly 72. (1993): 213-36.

Last modified 1996