By John Gatta
This article explores a impressive if not likely undercurrent of curiosity in Mary as legendary Madonna, that has endured in American lifestyles and letters from relatively early within the nineteenth century into the later twentieth. This ingenious involvement with the Divine lady - verging now and then on devotional homage - is principally interesting as manifested within the Protestant writers who're the focal point of this examine: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Margaret Fuller, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harold Frederic, Henry Adams, and T.S. Eliot. the writer argues that flirtation with the Marian cultus provided Protestant writers symbolic reimbursement for what can be culturally clinically determined as a deficiency of psychic feminity, or "anima" in the USA. He argues that the literary configurations of the legendary Madonna exhibit a subsurface cultural resistance to the existing rationalism and pragmatism of the yank brain in an age of entrepreneurial conquest.
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Additional resources for American Madonna: Images of the Divine Woman in Literary Culture
By the sixth century, Maria Regina had been firmly enthroned in Rome. Through his familiarity with works like George William Curtis's Nile Notes of a Howadji (1851), Hawthorne would certainly have encountered suggestions that the Mary of Jesus bore kinship to Isis, as did Cleopatra and Zenobia to Venus. The historical assessments he met in Edward Gibbons's History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and Anna Jameson's Memoirs of Celebrated 22 AMERICAN MADONNA Female Sovereigns (1831) could likewise remind him of the persistent tendency to worship and deify earthly queens such as Semiramis of Assyria, Cleopatra of Egypt, and the tragically magnificent Zenobia of Palmyra.
On the more popular plane, Hawthorne could also appreciate some of the folk expressions of Marian piety that flourished in nineteenth-century Italy. Thus, The Marble Faun introduces us as early as chapter 5 to a streetcorner shrine of the Virgin, which stands as a landmark in the book's moral geography to match against the popular wayside shrines that Hawthorne's wayfarers later meet in the countryside in chapter 32. TURNING DIRECTLY TO this text, the reader discovers immediately that among major characters the uncontaminated Hilda is most overtly identified with the Virgin Mary.
Leila's eye reflects the soul's "sense of eternity" as well as the soul of nature—particularly of elemental ocean, night, star, moon, fire, and wind. Indeed, one naturalistic-cum-Christian identity Leila recalls is that of mans Stella THE VIRGINAL SOUL IN FULLER 37 (star of the sea), for the narrator addresses her as Star while invoking her presence in the watery deep. "At night I look into the lake for Leila," she writes. "If I gaze steadily and in the singleness of prayer, she rises and walks on its depths" (56, 54-55).
American Madonna: Images of the Divine Woman in Literary Culture by John Gatta