From Masque to Masquerade: Monarchy and Art in Andrew Marvell’s Poems
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A considerable number of Andrew Marvell’s poems contain reference to various forms of visual arts. Marvell’s use of this type of imagery frequently leads to some type of transformation of a psychological, spiritual, political or social reality, with more or less overt allusions to the Neoplatonic notions of sublimation. However, this predominantly Neoplatonic notion of art, characteristic of Marvell’s earlier lyrics, disappears from his Restoration poems. In the satires, art, instead of idealising and elevating the corporeal, is rather dragged into the sphere of matter, where, together with the objects of the poet’s mockery, it undergoes a carnivalesque deformation. Such a degradation or carnivalisation of art imagery in Marvell’s Restoration satires is not only generically conditioned, but has its roots in the political, social and philosophical legacy of the Republic.
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