Society and Andrew Marvell



At first sight the poetry of Andrew Marvell seems to bear little relation to the age in which he lived. Marvell wrote a good deal of political satire, which is of considerable interest to the historian, but of less poetic value; his greatest poems (except the ‘Horatian Ode upon Cromwel’s return from Ireland’) have no direct reference to the political and social revolution of the seventeenth century. Yet this revolution transformed the lives of Englishmen; it faced them with intellectual and moral decisions which it was difficult to evade. I believe that if we study Marvell with a knowledge of the political background of his life we can discover in the great lyrics new complexities which will increase our appreciation of those very sensitive and civilized poems.


Social Revolution Sensual Pleasure Ivory Tower Iron Gate Great Lyric 
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© Christopher Hill 1997

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