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"Motherhood's Advent in Power": Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Poems About Motherhood

Sandra Donaldson
Victorian Poetry
Vol. 18, No. 1 (Spring, 1980), pp. 51-60
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40002713
Page Count: 10
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"Motherhood's Advent in Power": Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Poems About Motherhood
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Abstract

Elizabeth Barrett Browning's later poems on mothers and children, subjects that were rarely treated in poetry except sentimentally, are distinctly different from her early poems on those subjects. Miss Barrett's conventionality can be seen, for example, in poems on the death of a child; however, after experiencing childbirth and motherhood herself, Mrs. Browning was able to write sensitively about this subject. Comparisons among her poems help distinguish sentimental from realistic treatments of motherhood, childbirth, and children; and we find in Barrett Browning's later poems an authentic voice for women, until then rarely heard in poetry.

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