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Texts and readers in the Age of Marvell$
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Christopher D'Addario and Matthew Augustine

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781526113894

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526113894.001.0001

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Waller, Tasso, and Marvell’s Last Instructions to a Painter

Waller, Tasso, and Marvell’s Last Instructions to a Painter

Chapter:
(p.189) 10 Waller, Tasso, and Marvell’s Last Instructions to a Painter
Source:
Texts and readers in the Age of Marvell
Author(s):

Timothy Raylor

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9781526113894.003.0011

This chapter examines a passage in Marvell’s Last Instructions to a Painter concerned with the death of Archibald Douglas. While the passage might, considered in isolation, appear to be arbitrarily dilated to allow Marvell to indulge some of his imaginative and literary preoccupations, study of its textual underpinnings suggests that it was prompted and shaped by literary and political occasions coalescing around the poetry and politics of Edmund Waller. The chapter argues that the passage revises and corrects Waller’s recasting of Tasso’s version of a Virgilian topos, erasing the romance motivations that, in earlier versions, animate the scene in favour of epic austerity. It thus illuminates the connection between literary and political antagonisms in the Restoration, making clear not only the degree to which arguments about policy were conducted through literary texts, but also the extent to which poetic genre could itself be constitutive of court ideology and national policy.

Keywords:   Andrew Marvell, Edmund Waller, Epic, Romance, Politics of genre

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