OF THE BABY NAME MARIA
Maria is a character in William Shakespeare’s comedy, Twelfth Night, believed to have been written around 1601/02. Maria is the Countess Olivia’s lady-in-waiting, and she is a spirited prankster in her own right. In this comedy of errors, involving the usual male-to-female-and vice-versa changeovers, Maria is part of the plot to make Olivia’s steward, Malvolio, believe the noblewoman is in love with him. Maria writes a letter to him, purporting to be from Olivia, which inspires Malvolio to enact all kinds of nonsense. This gets him (again through Maria’s intervention) thrown into a dark holding chamber. An educated, literate, prankster of a ladies’ maid deserves a happy ending, and Maria gets one – she marries Sir Toby Belch. Apart from the fate of being addressed as Madam Belch, she could have done a whole lot worse!
Maria is the love interest of the American Robert Jordan in Ernest Hemingway’s 1940 classic, For Whom The Bell Tolls, (made into a movie in 1943 with the incomparable Ingrid Bergman as Maria). The beautiful young Maria has suffered greatly in the Spanish Civil War, having lost her family, been raped, and having had her hair shorn. Youth and her own natural innocent goodness are on her side, however, and she is recovering when Jordan arrives in the guerilla camp. Their attraction is powerful and instantaneous – and immediately consummated (“Did thee feel the earth move?”). Maria instills a revived sense of hope into the cynical American, and he dares to hope for a future with her. It is not to be, of course, but Maria (Spain?) is saved again by the heroics of the man who loves her – she lives on.
Maria Bertram is a character in Jane Austen’s 1814 novel, Mansfield Park. She is one of four children of a wealthy family which takes in their beautiful but impoverished niece, Fanny Price, to their home at Mansfield Park. Maria is as bad as Fanny is good, which is saying something. She is vain, self-centered and focused on finding a suitable marriage partner. She treats Fanny like the poor relation she is, and gives her little thought beyond the mandatory teasing. Although engaged to the rich and stupid Mr. Rushworth, Maria is also entranced with the newcomer, Henry Crawford, and dallies with him. When the caddish Henry jilts her, Maria quickly (and regrettably) marries Mr. Rushworth. Sometime later, she and Henry take up with each other again, creating a great scandal and prompting Mr. R. to divorce her and Henry to abandon her. Maria reaps the wages of sin – we are told she adjourns “to another country”. The climate, emotional and otherwise, has to be better!
Marlene Deitrich was considered one of the most glamorous stars of her day. A determined perfectionist with an incredible ego, her beauty, her style, her sense of the outrageous, made her a star. In this candid, illuminating, and detailed biography full of photographs, her only daughter Maria Riva, tells the incredible, fascinating, story of the star's life and career, loves and hates, hits and misses, as only a daughter can. The New York Times says: "Gossipy... Elabroately detailed...Greatly entertaining. Riva leaves no sequin unturned."
Jesus is a character in John Steinbeck’s 1935 novel, “Tortilla Flat,” a book about a group of California paisanos during the period following World War I. The paisanos that Steinbeck describes with great humor and affection are a group of young men of Mexican-Indian-Spanish-Caucasian mixture (purely Californian). Among the ruffians of Tortilla Flat is the humanitarian of the group, Jesus Maria Corcoran. Certainly, his name was not arbitrarily selected by Steinbeck. Jesus Maria is constantly doing all that he can to help those less fortunate than himself and finding ways to put this compassion to use.