Secularizing eighteenth-century Europe, at large, was not devoid of significant contributions to Marian literature. St. Alphonsus Liguori published the best-seller The Glories of Mary in 1750, and it has gone through some 800 printings in various languages since its publication. But this “masterpiece of prayer and contemplative theology . . . fell on a disintegrating society,”1 from the Christian perspective. Yet, sense began to lose ground to sensibility in the latter decades of the century (and the fruits of the so-called Enlightenment could be seen in the bloody aftermath of the French Revolution in the Reign of Terror under Robespierre). Subsequently, the revival of faith in Europe and in Britain, in particular (in the rise of Methodism and the Evangelical movement at large; then, especially, the Catholicizing Oxford Movement, within the Church of England) heralded a recovery of appreciation of the Virgin Mary, as a theological entity and a focus of individual spirituality. This led to a poetic exploration of her meaning and significance that continues to this day, as rich and as wondrously variegated as in any age.
KeywordsNatural World Blue Water English Poetry Romantic Poet Individual Spirituality
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