"Joyning my Labour to my Pain": Andrew Marvell and the Georgic Mode

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Title: "Joyning my Labour to my Pain": Andrew Marvell and the Georgic Mode
Author: Roy, Devjani
Advisors: John Morillo, Committee Chair
Abstract: In terms of genre, the larger part of Andrew Marvell's poetical works has been categorized as pastoral. Critical scholarship tends to focus on the ideas of "retreat from the world, resignation of ambition, enjoyment of rural ease and beauty, celebration of innocence and young love, and the quest for the renewal of the Golden Age" (Low 275). A pantheon of luminary scholars, including Frank Kermode, J. B. Fleishman, Donald M. Friedman, Ann E. Berthoff and William Empson, have claimed that Marvell's poetry is characterized by the pastoral mode. In this study of six of Marvell's allegedly pastoral poems, I argue that Marvell uses the georgic mode, albeit subversively, expanding and redefining the genre itself. The six poems I study are the "Mower" poems: "The Mower against Gardens," "Damon the Mower," "The Mower to the Glo-Worms," "The Mower's Song"; "Upon Appleton House"; and "The Garden." The existing critical literature dwells on Marvell's pastoral art; apart from Anthony Low's brief section on Andrew Marvell and the Civil War in The Georgic Revolution (274- 95), there has been no georgic interpretation of these poems. For this study, I read Marvell's poems against Virgil's Georgics, focusing attention on inter-textuality, lyrical and verbal nuances, and layers of meaning that emerge through a comparative reading. The aim is to find in Marvell's poetry evidence of a georgic mode that results in a lyrical purpose unifying all six poems. The larger aim of the study is to elucidate the genre of the georgic, reading it as a genre that is appropriate for encompassing a broad sweep of themes, from agriculture to social purpose to the idea of the "self" amidst political change. Tracing Marvell's skillful redefinition of this genre is what makes this study challenging and useful.
Date: 2007-04-11
Degree: MA
Discipline: English
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/407


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