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The date of Marvell's 'Hortus'

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
JournalSEVENTEENTH CENTURY
Early online date18 Jun 2018
DOIs
Accepted/In press24 May 2018
E-pub ahead of print18 Jun 2018

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Abstract

A post-Restoration dating of Marvell’s poem ‘The Garden’ and its Latin companion piece ‘Hortus’ to around 1668 has been generally accepted in recent criticism, despite some counter-arguments from those who defend the traditional dating to Marvell’s period at Nun Appleton (1650-2). None of these analyses, however, have attempted to date the Latin rather than the English poem. This article offers a new dating of ‘Hortus’ to around 1654, during Marvell’s time at Eton as tutor to John Dutton. The argument is based on a series of parallels and allusions to Latin poetry either dating from, or demonstrably particularly fashionable in, the period between 1646 and 1654, as well as close attention to the political resonance and contemporary understanding of the poem’s classical sources. As such, it is also a casestudy in the dating of neo-Latin verse, of which many thousands of examples survive from seventeenth-century England.

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