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date: 29 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines Marvell’s diplomatic career, with a particular focus on his role as secretary to the Earl of Carlisle’s 1663 embassy to Muscovy, Sweden, and Denmark. Modern accounts of the embassy have tended to represent it as a failure, which can be blamed partly on the haughtiness of speeches and letters written by Marvell and presented by Carlisle. The chapter discusses what constituted success and failure in the wider context of European diplomacy at this time, and asks whether Marvell might not have been judged too harshly. It explores the importance of contests over ceremony in early modern diplomacy, and argues that Marvell and Carlisle put together rhetorical performances of considerable skill and resourcefulness in the context of these contests. The speeches and papers written by Marvell in Muscovy throw into relief affinities between poetic and diplomatic forms of representation, particularly around the figure of prosopopoeia. The chapter ends by looking at Marvell’s continued interest in this figure following the end of his diplomatic career, and his ongoing aptitude for ventriloquizing royalty.

Keywords: Charles II, diplomacy, Marvell, Muscovy, prosopopoeia, rhetoric, Russia, satire

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