American Madonna

American Madonna : Images of the Divine Woman in Literary Culture

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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 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 more

Product details

  • Paperback | 192 pages
  • 156.2 x 233.9 x 16mm | 358.31g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 0195112628
  • 9780195112627
  • 2,018,379

Review quote

"[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 "This study of a literary counterculture will be appreciated by all with interests in American literature, Marian piety, and the intersection of religious literary motifs and social reality."-Anglican Theological Review "Gatta's study is a model for the kind of scholarship at which all of us, at our best, aim. It is fully researched, excellently composed, and full of insight."-Joseph Schwartz, Marquette University "Gatta displays an enviable interdisciplinary mastery of his subject and demonstrates the widespread presence Mary has held in one form or another in American culture. Remarkable for its intelligence and depth."-Choice "Brilliant....Gatta's study is a model for the kind of scholarhip at which all of us, at our best, aim. It is fully researched, excellently composed, and full of insight."-Christianity and Literature "...elegant study....clear, concise prose....wise and illuminating book."-Church Historyshow more

About John Gatta

About the Author: 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 more