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Christopher D’Addario

This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book considers novel ways in which readers, both early modern and contemporary, have conceived of texts and their position in the public world of print consumption and critical practice. It addresses the potential pitfalls and opportunities of different forms of contextualisation, in the process offering provisional solutions to the difficult problem of locating emergent or ephemeral experiences in early modern texts. The book explores issues of literary relations between prominent authors of the century, either locating new echoes and thus new meanings in important texts, or else asking to revise familiar narratives of rivalries and pressures. It explores the significance of Andrew Marvell's registering Oliver Cromwell's death through an allusion to Prince Hal's remark upon realising that Falstaff lives: 'I saw him dead'.

in Texts and readers in the Age of Marvell
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Historicism, whither wilt?
Christopher D’Addario

This chapter explores the growing challenges to and revisions of prevailing historicisms in the criticism of early modern literature. It explains how Thomas Browne and W. G. Sebald's sense of the powerful yet surprisingly discontinuous ways in which the past acts upon the people might inflect the challenges as well as the work as literary historians generally. Much of Browne's most luminous thinking on the recoveries and losses associated with the passage of time in Hydriotaphia, Urn-Burial ruminates on the incessant and inevitable fading of knowledge from the historical register. A historicism rooted in an awareness of the affective and the material can also help to re-imagine the individual's particular encounters with early modern literature. The stimulating new approaches to early modern writing pose some methodological challenges in their attempts to access past affects or precise aesthetic experiences.

in Texts and readers in the Age of Marvell

Since 1980s, there has been a steady stream of excellent work on the politics of literature and the literature of politics in seventeenth century England. Work on Andrew Marvell has seen a resurgence in the new millennium, driven by landmark scholarly editions of both his poetry and his prose. This book invites readers to entertain the prospect of placing Marvell at the centre of the literary landscape, exploring how such placement would shift people's perceptions of seventeenth-century literary culture. It presents a collection of essays that are divided into three sections. The first section asks readers to consider novel ways in which early modern and contemporary readers have conceived of texts and their position in the public world of print consumption and critical practice. It focuses on the relationship between literary texts and their historical moments, aesthetics, contextualisation of the religious, political, or social and Marvell's lasting awareness of and fascination with the public. The second section outlines seventeenth-century accounts and perceptions of child abuse, and the problems of identifying and recounting the experience of abuse and the broader significance of the appeal to Marvell of European poetry. The last section takes up issues of literary relations between prominent authors of the century. It illustrates how Marvell's depiction also stands in relation to Dutch representations of de Ruyter's victory, which emphasised the martial heroism as well as the negative consequences of the English monarchy's economic policies.