Download American Madonna: Images of the Divine Woman in Literary by John Gatta PDF

By John Gatta

This article explores a amazing if not going undercurrent of curiosity in Mary as legendary Madonna, that has persevered in American lifestyles and letters from rather early within the nineteenth century into the later twentieth. This resourceful involvement with the Divine girl - verging every now and then on devotional homage - is mainly exciting as manifested within the Protestant writers who're the focal point of this learn: 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 repayment for what should be culturally clinically determined as a deficiency of psychic feminity, or "anima" in the US. He argues that the literary configurations of the legendary Madonna convey a subsurface cultural resistance to the present rationalism and pragmatism of the yankee brain in an age of entrepreneurial conquest.

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For Fuller, this aspiration to regenerate herself—and, by extension, her nineteenth-century sisters stillborn into that fixed domain of cultural identity defined as "true womanhood"2—often expressed itself symbolically through mythology. Fuller's eclectic mythologizing drew mainly from ancient Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Hebrew, and Christian paradigms. She enriched it further through her exten33 34 AMERICAN MADONNA sive reading in German romanticism. But the archetypal Goddess, bearing her sundry names from this vast span of cultures, remains a pervasive presence throughout Fuller's prose and poetic writings.

35), would be pierced by the sword of her son's affliction, but one whose innocence pierces others "like a sharp steel sword" (66). What is more, in aesthetic terms this pale, derivative copyist of the old masters lacks the truly generative vitality associated with the Mother of God and with the feminine poet of the Magnificat. In this regard, as in several others, the vibrantly original Miriam of this tale comes closer than Hilda to fulfilling a Marian model of womanhood. Admittedly, Miriam's complex function as a character cannot be reduced to a single figurative abstraction.

So threatening is the creative autonomy of this force that it eventually condemns Zenobia to personal isolation and death. By contrast, it is intriguing to notice that "Queen"35 Margaret Puller, one prototype of Zenobia, was willing to invoke the Marian Madonna to affirm the generative capacity of spirited, self-reliant womanhood. " Zenobia's autonomy leaves her indeed "alone of all her sex," but in a solipsistic pit of despair, without fruitful issue in the world. As queen of fecundity, then, Zenobia comes no closer to achieving regenerative rule at Blithedale than she does as queen of eros.

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