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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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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 05 July 2022

Revitalizing Church and Culture

Revitalizing Church and Culture

The Marian Heroines of Anna Dorsey and Alexander Stewart Walsh, 1880s–1890s

(p.114) Chapter Four Revitalizing Church and Culture
The Valiant Woman

Elizabeth Hayes Alvarez

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter examines Marian imagery in American domestic fiction focusing on one Catholic and one Baptist author. Catholic convert Anna Hanson Dorsey influenced popular Catholic conceptions of Mary through her many domestic novels, which were characterized by their Marian spirituality and hyper-pure Mary-derived heroines. It analyzes her 1887 novel, Adrift, alongside an 1888 novel by Baptist minister Alexander Stewart Walsh entitled Mary: Queen of the House of David and Mother of Jesus. Dorsey and Walsh used parallel strategies for employing Marian themes to address the late-century “Woman Question.” Employing arguments derived from maternalism, each writer suggested that an elevated and egalitarian understanding of womanhood, modelled on Mary, would lead to social reforms that would protect women from exploitation and give them an expanded sphere of action without overturning their domestic role.

Keywords:   Alexander Stewart Walsh, Anna Dorsey, Catholic conversion, domestic fiction, Marian heroine, Marian spirituality, maternalism, Virgin Mary, Woman Question, womanhood

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