Women and Religious Authority: Passion and Reason in Elizabeth Barrett Browning's The Seraphim, and Other Poems and Aemilia Lanyer's Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum

  • Alessandra Azouri


Elizabeth Barrett Browning challenges traditional poetic conventions within the patriarchal realm
of religious devotional poetry in The Seraphim, and Other
Poems (1838).1
This essay examines Browning’s striking
connection to her seventeenth-century predecessor Aemilia Lanyer, author of Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum (1611).
Browning and Lanyer rework the male-centric devotional
poetic mode in order to destabilize the social restrictions
and biases placed upon women within the genre. Both poets
ultimately argue that the concord of emotion and reason establishes women’s authority in religious devotional poetry
over their male-poet contenders.