HUMANIZED AND HUMANIZING: NATURE AS A TASK IN ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING’S AURORA LEIGH
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The aim of the present paper is to explore the role of nature in the emergence of the (artist’s) self as a contract between the internalization of the surrounding reality and the externalization of one’s own private world. Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Aurora Leigh (1856) displays nature as an eventful text to be read and comprehended – already available (immanent, inherited, preceding) and yet still forthcoming (imminent, producible, succeeding). Nature provides man with an opportunity for self-completion and self-extension, as one relates to reality by right and by moral obligation. In revealing the experiential basis of poetic identity, I have been especially interested in Aurora Leigh’s devotedness to her native environment as a memorial of her deceased mother. (Artistic) being emerges as a responsibility to a call from the outside, where the humanizing element of one’s natural existence is to be found. Philosophical hermeneutics and anthropology applied hereby, this literary work may be able to step beyond its conveniently Victorian cultural order of signification.
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