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The Valiant WomanThe Virgin Mary in Nineteenth-Century American Culture$
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Elizabeth Hayes Alvarez

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469627410

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469627410.001.0001

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The Immaculate Conception and the Elevation of the Feminine, 1855–1860s

The Immaculate Conception and the Elevation of the Feminine, 1855–1860s

(p.39) Chapter Two The Immaculate Conception and the Elevation of the Feminine, 1855–1860s
The Valiant Woman

Elizabeth Hayes Alvarez

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter focuses on the gender rhetoric that emerged in the Immaculate Conception debate. In articles, editorials, and pamphlets, American Protestants publicly stated their beliefs and fears about the meaning of Mary’s womanhood and objected to the dogma in explicitly gendered language. An analysis of this rhetoric reveals that the implications of the doctrine for Mary’s public function as an exemplar of Christian womanhood was a factor in the sectarian debate over Immaculate Conception theology. The chapter also explores popular visual depictions of Mary in art books, art exhibitions, lithographs, magazine illustrations, and other reproductions and examines the gender characteristics transmitted by these Marian images.

Keywords:   American Catholics, American Protestants, Christian womanhood, gender rhetoric, Marian art, Virgin Mary, visual culture, womanhood

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