Modernist Mary

  • Barry Spurr


Writing at the beginning of the twentieth century, Henry Adams, in “The Dynamo and the Virgin” (1900), in The Education of Henry Adams (published in 1906), reflected:

Symbol or energy, the Virgin had acted as the greatest force the Western world ever felt, and had drawn man’s activities to herself more strongly than any other power, natural or supernatural, had ever done; the historian’s business was to follow the track of the energy; to find wherever it came from and where it went to; its complex source and shifting channels; its values, equivalents, conversions.1


Female Presence Poetic Representation Virgin Birth Modernist Poet Present Anxiety 
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    Charlene Spretnak, Missing Mary (Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2004), p. 28.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Daniel Albright, ed., W. B. Teats: The Poems (J. M. Dent, London, 1990), p. 722.Google Scholar
  3. 8.
    Helen Gardner, The Composition of Four Quartets (Faber and Faber, London, 1978), p. 141.Google Scholar
  4. 9.
    Harry Blamires, Word Unheard: A Guide through Eliot’s “Four Quartets” (Methuen, London, 1969), p. 109.Google Scholar
  5. 11.
    Humphrey Carpenter, W. H. Auden (George Allen & Unwin, London, 1981), p. 332.Google Scholar
  6. 12.
    Britten said that he intended to get round to the oratorio “one day,” but Auden was “hurt” when it became apparent it would never happen. Humphrey Carpenter, Benjamin Britten: A Biography (Faber and Faber, London, 1992), pp. 216, 240.Google Scholar
  7. 13.
    Steven Axelrod, Robert Lowell (Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1978), p. 60.Google Scholar

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© Barry Spurr 2007

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  • Barry Spurr

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