<i>Stabat Mater Dolorosa</i>
Imagining Mary’s grief at the cross
in Biblical women in early modern literary culture 1550–1700
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This chapter argues that early modern Catholic accounts of Marian grief continued to nostalgically present Virgin Mary using the medieval motif of the Stabat Mater Dolorosa. The Virgin at the cross is understood, in the Stabat Mater Dolorosa tradition, to be poised between grief and happiness; sorrow and exaltation; agony and triumph. Mary's participation at the cross was understood to authorise her intercessionary powers, reasserting her significance in an era coming to terms with the eradication of purgatory from Protestant doctrine. Thomas Lodge's Prosopopeia containing the teares of the holy, blessed, and sanctified Marie, the Mother of God directly engages with the performative nature of the Virgin's grief. Mary's grief at the cross does not simply operate as a static image of medieval Catholicism; instead, that legacy is negotiated in the texts to reveal what the Virgin represented to the particular historical moment.

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