Widely regarded as Barrett Browning's major work, Aurora Leigh is important both for its address to contemporary social issues, the \u201cwoman question\u201d in particular, and for its bold experimentation with poetic form. Since 1979 it has held its place in the canon as \u201cthe feminist poem\u201d (Ellen Moers), yet, until now, no reliable edition of the work has been available.
The text of this edition is based upon meticulous examination of the extant manuscripts, corrected proofs and revision to the poem. It is accompanied by a full textual history of the poem's composition and publication, a comprehensive annotation of literary allusions and contemporary reference, and a new and closely argued essay on the significance of the verse-novel as an early example of politically self-conscious women's writing.
This authoritative edition of Aurora Leigh provides a text and apparatus designed to combat conventional notions of women's poetry as \u201cinstinctive\u201d improvisation. It argues for the verse-novel as a poem which offers both the excitement of intellectual experimentation and the powerful engagement of a judicious political passion. The arrival of this edition should be of great interest and use to students of nineteenth-century studies and feminist scholars alike.