This new study of Andrew Marvell offers a state-of-the-art guide to one of the most intriguing and elusive poets of the seventeenth century. Hero to the eighteenth century for his published defences of parliamentary government and religious toleration, Marvell was friend and defender of Milton, underground author of satires against the Restoration court, paradoxically, promoted by T.S. Eliot for a diametrically opposite set of qualities and achievements – poise, detachment, an ethos both world-excluding and hypercivilised, not to mention the most perfect poems we have on “the figure in the landscape”. Annabel Patterson, known for her ability to make serious scholarship engaging, explains how Marvell’s complex personality and beliefs produce these contradictory responses. The book provides comprehensive introductions to Marvell’s different self-representations, and places the most famous poems, such as The Garden and Horatian Ode, in the dialectic they lose when read only in anthologies.
Annabel Patterson is Professor of Literature and English at Duke University. She has previous published articles on Marvell, and a book, Marvell and the Civic Crown (1978). Her most recent books are Censorship and Interpretation, Shakespeare and the Popular Voice, Fables of Power and Reading Between the Lines, the last about the relations between literature, history, high and popular culture, and academic mediations of these categories.
216 × 138 mm
June 1, 1994
Writers and their Work