Andrew Marvell

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Marvell, Andrew

(mär`vəl), 1621–78, one of the English metaphysical poetsmetaphysical poets,
name given to a group of English lyric poets of the 17th cent. The term was first used by Samuel Johnson (1744). The hallmark of their poetry is the metaphysical conceit (a figure of speech that employs unusual and paradoxical images), a reliance on
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. Educated at Cambridge, he worked as a clerk, traveled abroad, and returned to serve as tutor to Lord Fairfax's daughter in Yorkshire. In 1657 he was appointed John Milton's assistant in the Latin secretaryship, and in 1659 he was elected to Parliament, where he served until his death. He was one of the chief wits and satirists of his time as well as being a Puritan and a public defender of individual liberty. Today, however, he is known chiefly for his brilliant lyric poetry, which includes "The Garden," "The Definition of Love," "Bermudas," and "To His Coy Mistress," and for his "Horatian Ode" to Cromwell.


See his poems and letters edited by H. M. Margoliouth (2d ed. 1952); biographies by V. Sackville-West (1929, repr. 1971), J. D. Hunt (1978), N. Murray (2000), and N. Smith (2011); studies by H. E. Toliver (1965), P. Legouis (rev. ed. 1966), J. M. Wallace (1969), D. M. Friedman (1970), R. L. Colie (1971), K. Friedenreich, ed. (1977), E. S. Donno, ed. (1978).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Marvell, Andrew


Born Mar. 31, 1621, in Winestead, Yorkshire; died Aug. 16, 1678, in London. English poet.

During the English civil war, Marvell was a supporter of O. Cromwell. He was a friend and admirer of J. Milton. Initially influenced by the metaphysical school, Marvell later became one of the best English lyric poets. He eventually adopted the classical style. The poet’s republican odes and caustic satires attacking Charles II and his ministers during the Restoration are particularly well known.


Complete Works, vols. 1-4. 1872-75.
Poems and Letters, vols. 1-2. Oxford, 1952.
The Poems. London [1963].


Istoriia angliiskoi literatury, vol. 1, issue 2. Moscow, 1945. Pages 171-73.
Eliot, T. S. “Andrew Marvell.” In Selected Essays, 3rd ed. London, 1958.
Marvell: Modern Judgements. Edited by M. Wilding [London, 1969]. (Bibliography on pp. 285-88.)
Andrew Marvell: A Critical Anthology. Harmondsworth [1969]. (Bibliography on pp. 329-30.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.