In the larger scope of religious feminine iconography, the Virgin Mary stands out as a vessel of cultural rhetoric. As medieval studies in religion, culture, and language indicate, the Virgin Mary's biblical speeches, combined with her image as a mother and follower of God, create a unique opportunity for authors of fiction to explore the Marian manifestations in their characters. This project illuminates the occurrences of Marian Rhetoric as they are found in American sentimental and seduction novels as tools for cultural change. The American sentimental and seduction novels discussed in this project, show a need for the cultural commentary that only Marian rhetoric had the ability to address. Close analysis of Marian characters and their relationships with language highlight Marian's rhetoric's role in the eventual construction of American Catholic identity.

Date of publication

Spring 6-9-2015

Document Type




Persistent identifier