Why Does Mary Weep? Emotion and Gender in Advent lines 164-213 (Advent Lyric VII)
Item Type:Journal Article
Citation:Alice Jorgensen, Why Does Mary Weep? Emotion and Gender in Advent lines 164-213 (Advent Lyric VII), Neophilologus, 2021
Jorgensen Why Does Mary Weep revised.docx (Accepted for publication (author's copy) - Peer Reviewed) 76.20Kb
This article re-reads Lyric VII of the poem Advent, the dialogue of Mary and Joseph. The division of speeches in this lyric has been debated, largely on grounds of the plausibility of the emotions that are apparently expressed by the characters, but there are in fact clear pragmatic grounds for seeing only three speeches in the poem. The emotional expression in these speeches should not be seen in terms of character psychology, but rather the establishment and negotiation of relational stances. In her first speech, Mary expresses bitter grief and draws attention to her weeping, which is because of the insults and gossip she is suffering; the accent on shame and reputation is a distinctive emphasis in the poet’s treatment of the material. Her display of grief elicits Joseph’s response and paves the way to resolution in Mary’s final speech. Mary’s tears are gendered, but not so much because tears are inherently feminine as because they are associated with petition and dependence, and reflect Mary’s social subordination to her betrothed spouse. Lyric VII prompts its audience to a partial identification with Mary and reflection on their need for God and his mercy; such identification would work differently for female and male readers.
Author: Jorgensen, Alice
Type of material:Journal Article
Availability:Full text available