By John Gatta
This article explores a outstanding if not likely undercurrent of curiosity in Mary as legendary Madonna, that has endured in American lifestyles and letters from rather early within the nineteenth century into the later twentieth. This imaginitive involvement with the Divine girl - verging every now and then on devotional homage - is principally interesting 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 reimbursement for what could 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 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
7 Exalting him as a kind of father god, she naturally passed through phases of worship and rebellion, followed by painful loss after his death from cholera in 1835. Her losses became all the more grievous as she faced repeated disappointment in her friendships and overtures toward erotic intimacy, a path of abandonment that reached its nadir when not one but two cherished soul mates, Samuel Ward and Anna Barker, married each other rather than her in 1840. 8 As outward loss drove her to exploit every interior resource, she searched to express her emerging self-renewal through mythological delineations of the Goddess.
If she does not succeed in mediating any final salvation for Donatello, neither does she retain any final office in the story as siren or temptress. In pagan archetypal terms, too, it is Miriam rather than Hilda who embodies the primal, creative, and regenerative force of womanhood. As such, Miriam appears as a newly re-embodied water nymph or lady of the fountain—both in the "Faun and Nymph" engagement at the Villa Borghese and later in association with Count Donatello's ancestral estate at Monte Beni.
And what the rose woman inevitably signifies is love. Love in the form of eroticism? Yes, certainly as regards Zenobia, the core of whose personality Coverdale for once rightly identifies as "passionate love" (102). Yet the rose symbol can traditionally encompass a variety of loves, both sacred and profane, in addition to sexual passion. We recall, for example, that Hawthorne's Endicott crowns Edgar and Edith with a wreath of roses in "The Maypole of Merrymount," thereby recognizing a devout nexus between their marital union and the Christian God of love.