Old Calabria By Norman Douglas

 -  But the later ones, from
the viceregal period onwards, are in the vernacular and display a marked
deterioration; one must - Page 390
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But The Later Ones, From The Viceregal Period Onwards, Are In The Vernacular And Display A Marked Deterioration; One Must Suppose That They Were Printed For Such Of The Common People As Could Still Read (Up To A Few Years Ago, Sixty-Five Per Cent Of The Populace Were Analphabetic).

They are pervaded by the characteristic of all contemporary literature and art:

That deliberate intention to astound which originated with the poet Marino, who declared such to have been his object and ideal. The miracles certainly do astound; they are as strepitosi (clamour-arousing) as the writers claim them to be; how they ever came to occur must be left to the consciences of those who swore on oath to the truth of them.

During this period the Mother of God as a local saint increased in popularity. There was a ceaseless flow of monographs dealing with particular Madonnas, as well as a small library on what the Germans would doubtless call the "Madonna as a Whole." Here is Serafino Montorio's "Zodiaco di Maria," printed in 1715 on the lines of that monster of a book by Gumppenberg. It treats of over two hundred subspecies of Madonna worshipped in different parts of south Italy which is divided, for these celestial purposes, into twelve regions, according to the signs of the Zodiac. The book is dedicated by the author to his "Sovereign Lady the Gran Madre di Dio" and might, in truth, have been written to the glory of that protean old Magna Mater by one of Juvenal's "tonsured herd" possessed of much industry but little discrimination. [Footnote:

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