American Madonna: Images of the Divine Woman in Literary Culture
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.
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Adams's Agnes American archetypal Ash–Wednesday Beatrice beauty biblical Blessed Blithedale Candace Catholic Celia character Chartres child Christian church cultural Damnation Dante death despite Divine Woman divine womanhood dynamo erotic Esther faith Father fecundity female feminine feminist figure Frederic's gender goddess grace Harold Frederic Harriet Beecher Stowe Hawthorne's heart Henry Adams Hester Hilda History holy human ideal imagination Jeffrey Steele Jesus Lady Leila likewise literary Madonna male Marble Faun Margaret Fuller Marian piety Mary Scudder Mary's Mary’s masculine maternal Minister's Wooing Miriam mother of Jesus mystical myth mythic mythology Nathaniel Hawthorne Nineteenth Century novel pagan poem prayer presence Prisoned Queen Protestant Puritan Queen Raphael religion religious role Roman rose sacred Scarlet Letter sense sexual shrine Sister soul Soulsby spiritual Stowe's symbolic T. S. Eliot Theron Ware tion tradition Uncle Tom's Cabin University Press Venus Virgin Mary Virgin Mother women writing York Zenobia