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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

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

Hammond Paul

Oxford University Press

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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