By Elizabeth Story Donno

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Extra resources for Andrew Marvell : the critical heritage

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In 1870 James Russell Lowell incorporated admiring comments on the Cromwell poems in his essay on Dryden (No. 72). In the next year or so, an enormously popular anthology—A Library of Poetry and Song, Being Choice Selections from the British Poets—appeared under the name of William Cullen Bryant and included three of the lyrics under appropriate rubrics; though Bryant was not himself responsible for the classification and arrangement, they had all passed his ‘cultured criticism,’ including, one presumes, the textual alterations.

Somewhat surprisingly, Matthew Arnold was first to encounter the ‘Horatian Ode’ in Palgrave, but he can be credited at least with having introduced it to Sainte Beuve (see No. 69), who, in turn, introduced it to a French audience. Thus at the end of that anthologizing decade the time was opportune for the appearance of the first judicious survey of the man and his work—that of John Ormsby in an unsigned essay in the Cornhill Magazine (No. 71). In the remaining years before ‘poetic reassessment,’ it was the writers, as opposed to the critics, who kept the poetic Marvell in public view.

He is not included in the first edition (1768–71) of the Encyclopaedia Britannica (though Milton figures in an article on composition). ’ In the third (1788–97), the terse statement ‘also Poems and Letters’ is added to a mention of some of the prose. ]. ’ Despite this late recognition, the single most influential, if succinct, evaluation of the Marvellian poetic style in biographical dictionaries, that of John Aikin, came at the turn of the eighteenth century (see No. 39). On the other hand, nine of the lyrics had appeared in Tonson's (or Dryden's) popular Miscellany, published in 1716 and reprinted in 1727, some in abbreviated form.

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