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Figuring Sex between Men from Shakespeare to Rochester$
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Paul Hammond

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780198186922

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198186922.001.0001

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Marvell's Ambiguities

Marvell's Ambiguities

Chapter:
(p.186) 4 Marvell's Ambiguities
Source:
Figuring Sex between Men from Shakespeare to Rochester
Author(s):

Hammond Paul

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198186922.003.0005

This chapter brings together two kinds of discourse, lyrical poetry and satirical propaganda. The first part of the chapter develops themes from Chapter 3: the politically motivated use of allegations of homosexual behaviour. But in this case they have a special inflection, as material from a range of pamphlet attacks on Marvell repeatedly deploys the idea that he is impotent and ambiguous or amphibious. These sexually charged caricatures are then used as the starting point for a reading of the ambiguous elements in Marvell's own lyric poetry, highlighting moments when homoerotic motifs complicate the texture of ostensibly homosexual poems.

Keywords:   lyrical poetry, satirical propaganda, homosexual behaviour, Marvell

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