American Madonna: Images of the Divine Woman in Literary Culture

Paperback | October 1, 1997

byJohn Gatta

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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 ondevotional 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 offeredProtestant 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 ofthe American mind in an age of entrepreneurial conquest.

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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 ondevotional homage -- is especially intriguing as ma...

John Gatta is Professor of English and English Department Head at the University of Connecticut. His publications, most concerned with religion and literature, include numerous journal articles and an award-winning book on the New England poet Edward Taylor.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:192 pages, 9.09 × 6.1 × 0.59 inPublished:October 1, 1997Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195112628

ISBN - 13:9780195112627

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"[A] well-written study....John Gatta has indeed identified a minor but distinctive literary refrain, and his proof texts are varied and ample enough to be convincing and suggestive of future conversation."--JAAR