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date: 04 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the significances of the medium of manuscript for Marvell. It uncovers links between his self-formation and conduct as a scribal poet, and a set of questions and dilemmas long recognized as definitive in his work, those surrounding integrity and retreat. In Marvell’s imaginary, the wish to ‘circumscribe’ oneself in a private or transcendent world was always, in some measure, a scribal ideal or fantasy. To assess Marvell’s relations with ‘manuscript culture’, then, is not merely to document his involvements with particular scribal communities, or the varying extent of the scribal publication of his verse at different points in his career, but to plot those aspects of his practice against his lifelong preoccupation with privacy as an object of desire.

Keywords: circulation, handwriting, privacy, manuscripts, scribal communities, secrecy, selfhood, sociability, solipsism, transcription

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