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To George Sand: A Desire
Transcript of To George Sand: A Desire
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Rose et Blanche - Jules Sand
dressed as a man
Thou large-brained woman and large-hearted man,
Self-called George Sand! whose soul, amid the lions
Of thy tumultuous senses, moans defiance
And answers roar for roar, as spirits can:
I would some mild miraculous thunder ran
Above the applauded circus, in appliance
Of thine own nobler nature's strength and science,
Drawing two pinions, white as wings of swan,
From thy strong shoulders, to amaze the place
With holier light! that thou to woman's claim
And man's, mightst join beside the angel's grace
Of a pure genius sanctified from blame
Till child and maiden pressed to thine embrace
To kiss upon thy lips a stainless fame.
"Elizabeth Barrett Browning.” Florin. Aureo Anello Association, n.d. Web. 22 Jan. 2014.
“Elizabeth Barrett Browning.” Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation, n.d. Web. 22 Jan. 2014.
“Elizabeth Barrett Browning.” Poets.org. Academy of American Poets, n.d. Web. 22 Jan. 2014.
“George Sand Musset.” The Redlist. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Jan. 2014.
“George Sand with a Hat.” Affirmations. Affirmations, n.d. Web. 22 Jan. 2014.
Leubering, J. “George Sand.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica, 23 Aug. 2007. Web. 22 Jan. 2014. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/521896/George-Sand>.
Perez, Elizabeth. "Elizabeth Barrett Browning and George Sand." Cross-Channel Poetics. Elizabeth E Perez, n.d. Web. 23 Jan. 2014.
1806-1861 (Kelly, England-Florence, Italy)
First in her family born in England in two hundred years
Family money came from Jamaican plantations, which deteriorated as abolition came about in England (Emancipation Act 1833), though EBB supported abolition
Lung illness and spinal injury led to her lifelong addiction to morphine
Real name: Amantine Aurore Lucile Dupin
1804-1876 (Paris-Nohant, France)
Family had many connections with royalty, but George Sand rejected such connections
Raised in the countryside, provided backdrop for her rustic novels.
Resisted social conventions (smoking in public, dressing as a man, etc.)
First Pseudonym Jules Sand when writing with Jules Sandeau
Was a socialist
On the Cruelty of Forcement to Man
The Battle of Marathon: A Poem
An Essay on Mind, with Other Poems - 13 Poems
Sonnets from the Portugese - 44 Sonnets
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
"How do I love Thee?"
To George Sand: A Recognition
True genius, but true woman! dost deny
Thy woman's nature with a manly scorn
And break away the gauds and armlets worn
By weaker women in captivity?
Ah, vain denial! that revolted cry
Is sobbed in by a woman's voice forlorn—
Thy woman's hair, my sister, all unshorn
Floats back dishevelled strength in agony
Disproving thy man's name: and while before
The world thou burnest in a poet-fire,
We see thy woman-heart beat evermore
Through the large flame. Beat purer, heart, and higher,
Till God unsex thee on the heavenly shore,
Where unincarnate spirits purely aspire!
(line 1) In her seemingly paradoxical praise of Sand, Browning supports Sand's view by implying that the trait of intelligence was that of the Woman. At the time of writing, this would have been controversial in that major endeavors in science were being made to empirically prove that men were superior to women (endeavors which ultimately never came to fruition).
(lines 2- 4) Sand is referenced to being "amid the lions" to showcase her defiance and independence. The further description of the roar follows Sand's willingness to be publicly controversial in pursuit of her own ideals.
(lines 5- 7) By the circus imagery, Browning elevates Sand above the common people, using the thunder to ascribe to her a role as being a god among the rest; rather than participating in or viewing spectacle for entertainment, she transcends it.
(lines 8- 12) Browning continues her rhetorical elevation of Sand, first by employing the pure imagery of the white swan wings being affixed to Sand. The Swan, in its connection with water, can represent fluidity and creativity, representing Sand in the way that even typically permanent structures in her life often failed to stay and complementing her creativity as an author. Browning's application of the swan wings to double as the wings of an angel seem to further her idea of role model, going as far to say that George Sand is the ideal man and woman, that anyone can look up to her in the way that she lives so purely.
(lines 13- 14) Browning again mixes the traditional roles of man and woman to give a sense of closure in the sonnet by resonating with the beginning. At the same time, she is also reaching out to the future, hoping that Sand, as a role model, will reach both the maidens and the children, if not the men, of tomorrow and ideally build a less-prejudiced future.
The work, as a whole, deals with the identity of George Sand and manipulates the double image of the author to put forth a message about gender equality. Sand, in both work and life, stood for challenging social conventions. In this sense, Browning tried to remove gender from identity.
To George Sand: A desire