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date: 29 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter begins by reviewing the relationship between Milton and Marvell, but is devoted more expansively to their literary and intellectual ties. It examines the presence of Milton in Marvell’s pastoral poetry of the early 1650s where Marvell engages with the ‘Nativity Ode’, Comus, and ‘Lycidas’ but avoids reproducing the prophetic quality of Milton’s voice, hedging his allusiveness with delicate irony. The chapter also examines Marvell’s later engagement with Milton’s tolerationist treatises. Like Milton, Marvell is shaped by recent heterodox positions, but steers away from the boldness of the Miltonic vision. Where Milton asks the state to tolerate a variety of fully independent churches and religions, Marvell clings to the more conservative hope that the Church of England will merely include, or ‘comprehend’, a wider range of beliefs and believers. A political realist and a literary ironist, Marvell distances himself from the political idealism and prophetic literariness of Milton.

Keywords: Comus, influence, ‘Lycidas’, Milton, Marvell, Mr. Smirke, Paradise Lost, Socinianism, toleration

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