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Mary And The Marquise: Reading The Annunciation In The Romantic Rape Tradition

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Chapter Summary

This chapter argues that reading from a literary perspective while still taking the historical context seriously, one can construe the relationship between the Holy Spirit and Mary in Luke 1 as participating in the assumptions of romantic rape, a motif which stretches from Ovid's "The Rape of Callisto" to Heinrich Kleist's "The Marquise of O -," and Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles. The interaction between Mary and the angel Gabriel in the annunciation scene in Luke 1 joins in the romantic rape tradition because the penetration of the woman's sexual organ occurs in a situation of inequality. In the case of the conception of Christ, the penetration of a womb for reproductive purposes necessarily makes this passage sexual, regardless of the lack of lust on the part of the penetrator. The most notorious of all rape elisions, is the "dash" in "The Marquise of O - ", originally published in 1810.

Keywords: angel Gabriel; conception of Christ; Heinrich von Kleist; Luke's annunciation scene; Mary; Ovid's "The Rape of Callisto"; romantic rape tradition; Tess of the D'Urbervilles; The Marquise of O -



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