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Reading Mary as Reader: The Marian Art of Dante Gabriel and Christina Rossetti

Reading Mary as Reader: The Marian Art of Dante Gabriel and Christina Rossetti KATHRYN READY s the works of Dante Gabriel and Christina Rossetti attest, among the many signs of the Oxford or Tractarian Movement's influence in the realm of English culture was the resurgent interest in the Virgin Mary as a subject for poetry and painting. Inspired by this movement, sister and brother both recognized Mary as an important spiritual figure, intimately connected to the Biblical Logos. Yet their works simultaneously attest to the permanent decline in English culture of the Mary as Reader trope, a once popular artistic expression of the Virgin's central agency in the human understanding of the Logos. In different ways, brother and sister both invoke and subvert the Mary as Reader trope--he motivated by recurring doubts about the Virgin's understanding of and access to the Logos, and she by Protestant anxiety on the subject of Mariolatry. Christina arguably revives something of the spirit if not the letter of the Mary as Reader trope. Despite her qualms about Marian worship, she still regards Mary as a model Christian hermeneut who lived a perfect life in imitatio Christi. For her, Mary represents an inspiring example for all Christians, and especially women, who continued to be expected to http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Victorian Poetry West Virginia University Press

Reading Mary as Reader: The Marian Art of Dante Gabriel and Christina Rossetti

Victorian Poetry , Volume 46 (2) – Jun 15, 2008

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Publisher
West Virginia University Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 West Virginia University
ISSN
1530-7190
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Abstract

KATHRYN READY s the works of Dante Gabriel and Christina Rossetti attest, among the many signs of the Oxford or Tractarian Movement's influence in the realm of English culture was the resurgent interest in the Virgin Mary as a subject for poetry and painting. Inspired by this movement, sister and brother both recognized Mary as an important spiritual figure, intimately connected to the Biblical Logos. Yet their works simultaneously attest to the permanent decline in English culture of the Mary as Reader trope, a once popular artistic expression of the Virgin's central agency in the human understanding of the Logos. In different ways, brother and sister both invoke and subvert the Mary as Reader trope--he motivated by recurring doubts about the Virgin's understanding of and access to the Logos, and she by Protestant anxiety on the subject of Mariolatry. Christina arguably revives something of the spirit if not the letter of the Mary as Reader trope. Despite her qualms about Marian worship, she still regards Mary as a model Christian hermeneut who lived a perfect life in imitatio Christi. For her, Mary represents an inspiring example for all Christians, and especially women, who continued to be expected to

Journal

Victorian PoetryWest Virginia University Press

Published: Jun 15, 2008

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