From the repentant whore of medieval painting to the tattooed temptress of Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ, the figure of Mary Magdalen has endured over centuries as a powerful icon of sin and redemption. Expertly tracing nearly 2,000 years of art, literature, and history, Haskins offers a bold new study of the mysterious Magdalen. A New York Times Notable Book of the Year.
Exploring two thousand years of history, art, and literature, this dramatic and illuminating portrait studies one of the most compelling figures in early Christianity, and provides a deep analysis on the magnitude that her complex story has had on religious and cultural thought.
Susan Haskins was educated at convents in Singapore and England, and read English and Art History at University College London. She lived for several years in Italy and has worked at Harvard University's Villa I Tatti. She is co-author with Anthony Burton of European Art in the Victoria & Albert Museum (1983), and translator of The Rapid Prince by Paolo Prodi (1987). She lives in London.
The strengths of Mary Magdalen are real and obvious. It has a bold sweep. It takes an icon of faith and sexuality and trails it through ideas and hypocrisies, through travesties and beautiful representations on canvas and in bronze -- Eavan Boland Observer Haskins' analysis of the Magdalen myth is a rich and scholarly detective story, an unveiling which is at the same time a revelation. This is an intelligent book, which blends a sensitive and critical knowledge of art with theology and history. It is written with style and a delightful mocking wit, and is mercifully free of tediously inconclusive arguments about sex and gender -- Angela Tilby Church Times A book full of delights, anecdotes, observations; it exhibits a wealth of scholarship, and a passion and charm which are hard to resist -- Jackie Wullschlager Financial Times A sparky and erudite book, packed with information and written with passion -- Julia O'Faolain Times Literary Supplement
The best book ever written about Mary Magdalen, published now to take advantage of the fascination with her engendered by The Da Vinci Code.
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