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date: 03 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

While few of Marvell’s lyrics can be dated with any precision, critics no longer find it ‘comforting to reflect’, as Frank Kermode did in 1952, ‘that the date of “The Garden” is quite unknown, so that it cannot be positively stated to be the direct record of some personal experience at Nun Appleton’. Recent attempts to reassign some of the poems traditionally associated with the time Marvell spent with the Fairfax family (principally ‘The Garden’ and ‘The Mower against Gardens’) to the Restoration phase of his career have met with mixed success. This chapter accordingly asks what kinds of evidence we can or should bring to bear in addressing the closely related issues of the dating and circulation of Marvell’s writings. The three test cases considered are ‘An Horatian Ode upon Cromwell’s Return from Ireland’, ‘The Garden’, and the anonymous prose piece, ‘An Epitaph upon—’.

Keywords: allusions, circulation, dating, drafts, epitaphs, Hobbes, Harrington, ideas

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