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If thou must love me [UK]:
[...] Yet, Sonnets from the Portuguese were the lighter side of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's poetry. Her more serious work was very serious indeed. Every three or four years, I determine to write her biography. So every three or four years I read Aurora Leigh, according to its author a "novel in verse". Its 1,100 lines explore the position of women - thinking women such as Elizabeth - in Victorian society. It could not have been written by a woman who had grown up as one of nature's willing victims, waiting on her chaise longue to be rescued from her tyrannical father by the poet as hero. In fact, malicious rivals whispered that Robert Browning only cultivated Elizabeth Barrett because, thanks to her superior reputation as a poet, she provided him with an easy entree into literary society. It was Elizabeth, not Robert, who - according to the gossip - was considered for nomination as poet laureate. [...]
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