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84 D.I.B. SMITH of their work, of the language available to them at the time and for their purposes . She thinks about what images mean - what does it imply about a man's view of himself and his world that he habitually uses microcosm-macrocosm analogies? Or legal terminology? Or that he treats himself typologically? We could go on, to try to understand the difference between a man's seeing himĀ· self symbolically (Donne) and another man's seeing himself typologically (Bunyan, Traherne); we might try to define the difference between Donne's dramatic presentation of himself and Lilburne's, perhaps drawing upon the analogy to private and public theatres; we could compare Burton's and Baxter's very different uses of catalogues: the book leaves room for more work, without dictating what that work must be. Even without the openhandedness of this book, we have enough in it to go on with for a very long time. It is, really, the first sophisticated treatment of these writers that manages at once to consider what they wrote as well as how they wrote, and to venture to suggest why they wrote as they did; the first book I know that takes for granted the considerable historical work done on all the writers, integrating those findings into a stylistic study. I know how useful the book is to students, having read answers derived from it on examinations; it is, I think, even more useful to scholars, since it answers so many questions and sets so many more. Miss Webber is certainly the best reader and explicator of seventeenth-century prose in the business; I keep hoping that she will turn her method to Renaissance poetry, which could do with some lucid critics who begin with the texts and, without forgetting that poems are written by individual men, end with the texts too. (R.L. CoLm) MARVELL AND HIS MODERN CRITICS' The Fly-blown Text creates a crawling Brood; And turns to Maggots what was meant for Food. A Thousand daily Sects rise up and dye; A Thousand more the perish'd Race supply ... Criticism today is not unlike the sectarian proliferation of the mid-seventeenth century: much of it is undoubtedly the 'Fruit of the Private Spirit' and much occasioned by 'great zeal and little thought.' Men are unquestionably itching to expound still and continue to be 'ambitious of the obscurest place.' And just as they exclaimed against the 'prodigious swarms of dull and bombast divinity' so now one feel a sense of terror and dismay as more and more works march indefatigably off the press. Marvell has suffered as much as any writer &om the Eng. Lit. industry, and the Hood of articles and monographs shows no signs of ceasing. He himself viewed the business of publication with some scepticism: "'Rosalie Colie, 'My Ecchoing Song.' Andrew Marvell's Poetry of Criticism. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1970. Pp. 336. $12.50; John Carey, ed., Andrew Marvell. Hammondsworth, Penguin Books 1969. Pp. 352. $2.15. MARVELL AND HIS MODERN CRITICS 85 'Those that take upon themselves to be Writers, are moved to it either by Ambition or Charity: imagining that they shall do therein something to make themselves famous, or that they can communicate something that may be delightful and profitable to mankind. But therefore it is either wayan envious and dangerous imployment. For, how well soever it be intended, the World will have some pretence to suspect, that the Author hath both too good a conceit of his own sufficiency, and that by undertaking to teach them, he implicitly accuses their ignorance. So that not to Write at all is much the safer course of life ...' Not that Marvell took his own advice, but his excuse was much greater than those of his modern commentators. For one who did write, Marvell added: "tis necessary that he be copious in matter, solid in reason, methodical in the order of his work; and that the subject be well chosen, the season well Iix'd, and, to be short, that his whole production be matur'd to see the light by a just course of time, and judicious deliberation. Otherwise, though with some of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 84-86
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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