The spatial representation of the Blessed Mary in Italian poetry at the time of the Second Vatican Council


  • Magdalena Maria Kubas Università degli Studi di Torino, Dipartimento di Filosofia e Scienze dell’Educazione, Turin



The Holy Virgin, the Blessed Mary, the Second Vatican Council, interior (I)/exterior (E) space of culture, spatial descriptions, Marian theology, Italian poetry, contemporary poetry


The representation of the Holy Virgin has long constituted one of the most important thematic lines in Italian poetry, both sacred and profane. In terms of the representation of space, the Blessed Mary was traditionally placed in faraway, celestial hierarchies. In more recent periods, this figure is often placed in the space of earthly life, with which the lyrical subject (the enunciator) is more familiar. Juri Lotman’s perspective on the space of the typological description of culture shows that divinities belong mainly to the exterior (E) space of culture. Building on these considerations, the purpose of this article is to analyse recent Marian representations – both poetic and theological – in Italian culture. I will demonstrate that, during the 20th century in Italy, Marian sacrum was moved closer to or even inside interior space (I), as the Blessed Virgin started to appear mostly in scenes of daily life and her divine traits gradually lost importance. This kind of spatiality is also found in the ecumenical dialogue. The Second Vatican Council normalized both Marian theology and the faithful’s practices, which influenced textual production and brought about further changes in the spatial placement of Mary. While the general social trend towards secularization has been increasing the distance between the human and the divine, Mary’s sanctity was transferred to the interior space (I) of everyday life – and this could be one of the factors that relaunched Marian poetry.


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How to Cite

Kubas, M. M. (2023). The spatial representation of the Blessed Mary in Italian poetry at the time of the Second Vatican Council. Sign Systems Studies, 51(2), 280–300.