Marvell's Latin Poetry and the Art of Punning

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This chapter analyses Marvell’s linguistic ingenuity as exemplified by his Latin poetic corpus. Here, it is argued, a pseudo Lucretian sensitivity to the parallelism between the structure of Latin words and the structure of the world co-exists with a linguistic methodology that is essentially Marinesque. Close examination of the Latin poems as a whole assesses the nature and significance of etymological play, paronomasia, puns on juxtaposed Latin words, on place names, and on personal names. It is suggested that such devices demonstrate ways in which the neo-Latin poetic text can serve both as a linguistic microcosm of the literary contexts in which they are employed, and as a re-invention of the artifice, extravagant conceits, and baroque wit of Marinism. The result is a neo-Latin ‘echoing song’ that is both intra- and intertextual. Through bilingual punning and phonological wit Marvell plays with a classical language only to demonstrate its transformative potential. The chapter concludes by offering a new reading of Hortus in relation to the garden sections of Marino’s L’Adone, in which an extravagantly luscious setting confounds the senses and is mirrored linguistically by word-clusters and labyrinthine punning.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Andrew Marvell
EditorsMartin Dzelzainis, Edward Holberton
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


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