Abstract and Keywords
Marvell’s letters to friends reveal far more than the ‘gazetteering’ tones of his allegedly ‘colourless’ corporation letters. They are exceptional for their candidness, their intimations of Marvell’s religious and political sympathies, and their warmth. They are epistulae ad familiares, ‘letters to friends’, in the fullest Ciceronian sense of the term ‘familiar’, further demonstrating Marvell’s propensity for colourful adversarial exchange. They also function as a private rehearsal space for Marvell’s coded, politically charged wit. The primary focus of this essay is Marvell’s six extant letters to Sir Edward Harley, in the contexts of The Rehearsal Transpros’d (1672) and Mr. Smirke: Or, The Divine in Mode (1676).
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