Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Gendered EcologiesNew Materialist Interpretations of Women Writers in the Long Nineteenth Century$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Dewey W. Hall and Jillmarie Murphy

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781949979046

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781949979046.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 18 May 2022

Beyond the Bower

Beyond the Bower

The Garden, the Tower, and the Fate of the Embowered Woman

(p.41) Chapter 2 Beyond the Bower
Gendered Ecologies

Heather Braun

Liverpool University Press

Romantic male poets typically describe bowers as lush, ecological spaces for quiet introspection and poetic creation within a distinctly masculinize landscape. In contrast to these idyllic spaces in Nature, the word bower meant something quite different for many nineteenth-century British women writers. For Romantic female poets, these garden bowers were isolated and fragmented spaces where artistic production was inhibited rather than nurtured. Their poems imagine a very different kind of bower, one that is aligned most directly with a second definition of the term: namely, a lady’s apartment in which “embowered” characters are trapped in interior spaces. These barren, claustrophobic bowers offered the antithesis of the freedom and inspiration male poets of the Romantic-era associated with outdoor garden bowers. Poet, essayist, and activist Caroline Norton demonstrates how these artificial domestic prisons produced paralysis and self-division rather than comfort and poetic inspiration. Cut off from the ecological spaces available to their male contemporaries, Norton’s female characters are silenced, distracted, and confined unable to leave their stifling bowers to create space for themselves in the natural world. Many nineteenth-century women writers reconfigured the Romantic garden bower as an unnatural lady’s bower from which female artists must flee in order to create.

Keywords:   Bower, Garden, Caroline Norton, Poetry, Tower

Liverpool Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.