American Madonna: Images of the Divine Woman in Literary Culture / Edition 1

American Madonna: Images of the Divine Woman in Literary Culture / Edition 1

by John Gatta
     
 

This book explores a notable if unlikely undercurrent of interest in Mary as mythical Madonna that has persisted in American life and letters from fairly early in the nineteenth century into the later twentieth. This imaginative involvement with the Divine Woman — verging at times on devotional homage — is especially intriguing as manifested in the

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Overview

This book explores a notable if unlikely undercurrent of interest in Mary as mythical Madonna that has persisted in American life and letters from fairly early in the nineteenth century into the later twentieth. This imaginative involvement with the Divine Woman — verging at times on devotional homage — is especially intriguing as manifested in the Protestant writers who are the focus of this study: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Margaret Fuller, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harold Frederic, Henry Adams, and T.S. Eliot. John Gatta argues that flirtation with the Marian cultus offered Protestant writers symbolic compensation for what might be culturally diagnosed as a deficiency of psychic femininity, or anima, in America. He argues that the literary configurations of the mythical Madonna express a subsurface cultural resistance to the prevailing rationalism and pragmatism of the American mind in an age of entrepreneurial conquest.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195112627
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
11/28/1997
Series:
Religion in America Series
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile:
1560L (what's this?)

Table of Contents

Introduction3
1The Sacred Woman: The Problem of Hawthorne's Madonnas10
Of Holy Mothers and Dark Ladies10
Hester's Divine Maternity15
Queen Zenobia of Blithedale20
The New England Maiden and the Fallen Goddess of The Marble Faun26
Hawthorne's Search for Sacred Love: From Puritan Fathers to Divine Mothers31
2The Virginal Soul of Margaret Fuller's Woman in the Nineteenth Century33
Queen Margaret's Mythmaking33
"Her own creator": Images of Self-fashioning in Minerva, Leila, and Mary through 184434
The Mary Victoria of Woman in the Nineteenth Century41
3Calvinism Feminized: Divine Matriarchy in Harriet Beecher Stowe53
Godly Maternity and Motherly Jesus53
Birthpangs of the New Order in Uncle Tom's Cabin58
The Ministry of Mary in The Minister's Wooing62
Other Appearances of the Madonna-Intercessor in Agnes of Sorrento, Poganuc People, and The Pearl of Orr's Island67
Sacrament of Mother-Love, Compassion of the Mater Dolorosa71
4The Sexual Madonna in Harold Frederic's Damnation of Theron Ware72
The Post-Romantic Madonna of the Future72
Celia Madden: Catholic Madonna or Sex Goddess?76
From Maya and Mary to the New Woman84
The Unsettling Character of Soulsby and the Undoing of Ware91
Beyond Illusion: The Grace of Critical Realism93
5Henry Adams: The Virgin as Dynamo95
The Woman Unknown in America95
The Adamic Quest for New Eve96
"The place has no heart": Preserves of Womanly Grace in Democracy and Esther99
Mary of Chartres as Personal Presence and Romantic Ideal105
Adams's Education: The Unknowable and Generative Woman110
6Eliot's Archetypal Lady of Sea and Garden: The Recovery of Myth116
Myth, Modernism, and Lady Mary116
The Sibyl and Belladonna of The Waste Land118
Toward Our Lady of la Vita Nuova121
Eliot's Soul Sisters: The Sacred and Profane Ladies of "Ash-Wednesday"124
"Best Dead Madonna this side Atlantic": "The Dry Salvages" and the Quartets131
Epilogue137
Appendix"Raphael's Deposition from the Cross," by Margaret Fuller; "Mary at the Cross" and "The Sorrows of Mary," by Harriet Beecher Stowe; Excerpt from "The Golden Legend" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow141
Notes151
Index173

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