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Response to Review no. 873

Many thanks to Carmen Mangion for her kind and thoughtful review of Victorians and the Virgin Mary. I am also grateful to her for raising the question of women’s responses to the Virgin Mary. I agree that this would be a fruitful area of research, especially where Anglo-Catholic and Roman Catholic women are concerned. Her review suggests some sources for further study, as well as questions to be raised, and I do hope another scholar takes up the challenge. Certainly Dr. Mangion’s fine work on sisterhoods gives a broader context for looking at constructions of female agency. Until more research is published, Dr. Mangion and I will have to disagree on whether Protestant women engaged with the Virgin Mary in significant numbers, for I remain more convinced by Julie Melnik’s assessment that the Virgin Mary did not offer a viable role model for most Protestant women. However, I would be happy to be proven wrong, and I am happier still that scholars, presses, and (let us hope) the general reading public recognizes that images of the Virgin Mary provide us with rich sources for understanding the cultures that produce them.