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.
the existence of a body of vernacular heroic literature in the earliest Middle Ages is essential to the rehabilitation of the idea that an heroic ethos may have existed in that period. The absence of evidence for martialheroism is in fact an aspect of the problem with our sources, which on the whole do not provide us with details of warfare. That, wrote Guy Halsall, ‘is one of the most intriguing aspects of the study of war in this period’;
and, moreover, it is ‘utterly intractable’.
Kempe, The Education of Children (1588), sig. D1r. This contention might be
compared with that of Ralegh himself: ‘it is well knowne, that Rome (or perhaps all the
world besides) had never nay so brave a Commander in war as Julius Caesar: and that
no Roman armie was comparable unto that which served under the same Caesar.’ See
19 I am indebted for these references to Rapple, MartialHeroism, 80–1.
20 For an age which had been profoundly (and violently) exercised by a prolonged interrogation of Early Stuart sovereignty, an indication of Ralegh
wrote in response to each other. So, while
Marvell’s well-known picture in Last Instructions to a Painter (1667) of
the Dutch admiral Michiel de Ruyter’s triumphant raid up the Medway,
with its bizarre mixture of the pastoral and the erotic, should certainly be
seen as aligned with domestic critiques of the now emasculated English
administration, Smith illustrates how Marvell’s depiction also stands in
relation to Dutch representations of de Ruyter’s victory, which emphasised the martialheroism of the Dutch as well as the negative consequences of the English monarchy
could be co-opted to shore up traditionally ascribed warrior values
in the face of modern and de-individualised conflict. Here, the moral
rather than physical virtues of the soldier hero were given prominence.
Indeed, throughout the long nineteenth century, the very materiality of
military masculinity could simultaneously promote and undermine it.
Thirdly, the body was central to military masculinity but also, therefore, a means by which it was vulnerable. As Banister demonstrates,
accounts of martialheroism were put under strain when the hero was
• 10 •
Hero-worship, imperial masculinities and inter-generational ideologies in H. Rider Haggard’s 1880s fiction
recently, Michael Brown has demonstrated that new technologies of
warfare led to revisions of earlier notions of martialheroism grounded
in close combat.77 The sheer scale of loss of life, much of it closer to
home, meant that adventure fiction rapidly declined during and after
the First World War, in which Haggard’s own son died.78 Between the
• 247 •
Imagining martial masculinities
Crimean and Boer Wars, however, the genre flourished, building selectively on elements of martial masculinity developed much earlier, following the Napoleonic Wars.
strength lies, paradoxically, in his repeated defeat (xi.29, 46). As one critic has put it, the birth of a saint would seem to be the death of a hero. 86 Red Crosse kills the dragon, and heroism with it.
1 Howard Jacobson , Seriously Funny: From the Ridiculous to the Sublime ( London : Penguin , 1997 ), p. 1 ; Bakhtin, Rabelais and His World , p. 6.
2 On Spenser’s subversion of martialheroism through Christian allegory see, for example, Kenneth Borris , ‘ Spenser’s Heroic Allegory and the Politics of Ennobled Virtue , in Allegory and Epic in English
disquieting vulnerability to notions of masculinity and
rendered the hard emphases of late-Victorian and Edwardian manliness more ambivalent.8 The strong anti-militaristic sentiments of the
post-war years fed into new models of education and youth training.
The pacifist woodcraft groups were established, while youth groups like
the Church Lads’ Brigade, in which military symbolism was important,
declined, and many youth associations discouraged the ‘unimaginative’
use of drill.9 The bold, martialheroism of the pre-war years was becoming something altogether more low key, a
insufficient to satisfy the public’s desire for an appropriate
climax to the conflict. The spectacular charge of the heavy cavalry, personified in Shaw the Lifeguard, as he generally was described thereafter, was
selected to serve this purpose.124
Boddy observes that Shaw’s death came to act ‘as a kind of synecdoche for the battle’. He was central to its commercialisation. The tours of
Waterloo, which began almost immediately, included a visit to his grave. He
featured as a symbol for martialheroism in novels, and as the virile poster
boy of ‘Old England’ and its