Since the subject is in some degree sexual, it is worth recalling that the urn itself is a "still unravished bride" (1).
It even provides in "married chastity" a condition that appears to model Keats's "unravished bride" (1) and the "forever panting" that is above "breathing human passion" (27-28).
For example, John Keats opens his "Ode on a Grecian Urn" with these lines: "Thou still unravished bride
of quietness, / Thou foster child of silence and slow time." The academics strew some "richness" and "texture" across our path as early as the second word, "still." One meaning comes immediately to mind, "as yet": so the sense runs, Thou as-yet-unravished bride of quietness, Thou foster child of silence and slow time ...
It "is a thought to be going on with," if only because it keeps the unravished bride
and her pursuing bridegroom (i.e., Edenic Adam and Eve, the lightly clad couple in the window, the poet and the poem) one full step ahead of aftermath for good.
The use of the quality to suggest the emotional core of Vermeer images seems to owe more to an English-speaking collective memory of Keats's famous Ode to a Grecian Urn (1819)--'Thou still unravished bride
of quietness, / Thou foster-child of silence and slow time'--than to anything tangible in Dutch art.
Grant Scott senses this: "The prospect of paralysis before the silent beauty of the unravished bride
is never far from the speaker's mind...." (8) This anxiety has been explained along psychological and gender lines.
See Daniel Rancour-Laferriere, "Pugkin's Still Unravished Bride
: A Psychoanalytic Study of Tat'jana's Dream," Russian, Croatian and Serbian, Czech and Slovak, Polish Literature 25:2 (1989): 215-58, esp.
As Miller points out, by 1820 Keats would address that "still unravished bride
of quietness" as the "foster-child of silence and slow time," quite certain that no amount of antiquarian activity would reveal the original subject of his Grecian Urn.
Keynote speakers include Jungian analyst Marion Woodman, author of Addiction to Perfection: The Still Unravished Bride
; psychology professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience; and dance critic Deborah Jowitt.
The poem proliferates subjects--I, while not an altar, is a "bride," which grows, and with the seeds of the tree, is the Keatsian "unravished bride
" of pure art, never completed but alive through perpetual remaking of origins.
Childs herself remains timeless, centered, as ever the unravished bride
These are not unravished brides
, and they seem happy with that (one of them is, in fact, Kurland's mother).