The English Civil Wars in the Literary Imagination

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The English civil wars loom large in seventeenth-century history and literature. This period, which culminated in the execution of a king, the dismantling of the Established Church, the inauguration of a commonwealth, and the assumption of rule by a lord protector, was one of profound change and disequilibrium. Focusing on writers as major as Milton, Marvell, Herrick, and Vaughan, and as misunderstood as Fane, Overton, and the poet Eliza, the fifteen essays in this collection discuss not only the representation of the civil wars but also the ways in which the civil wars were anticipated, refigured, and refracted in the century's literary imagination.

Although all of the essays are historically grounded and critically based, they vary widely in their historical perspectives and critical techniques, as well as in their scope and area of concentration. Six of the essays are on Royalist literary figures, six are on figures traditionally associated with the Parliamentarian side of the civil wars, two consider both, and the remaining essay examines how Royalist writers refashioned a puritan literary trope.

Unified through the contributors' concentration on "moderate" voices and their recurrent concerns with the ambiguities of literary response, The English Civil Wars in the Literary Imagination provides an important understanding of the English civil wars' manifold and sometimes indirect presence in the literature of the period.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826212207
  • Publisher: University of Missouri Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/1999
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

About the Editors

Claude J. Summers and Ted-Larry Pebworth are both William E. Stirton Professors in the Humanities at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. They have coedited numerous works, including Literary Circles and Cultural Communities in Renaissance England and Fault Lines and Controversies in the Study of Seventeenth-Century English Literature.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Cavalier 9
"A Sad Intestine Warr": Mildmay Fane and the Poetry of Civil Strife 27
Herrick's Masque of Death 52
From Witty History to Typology: John Cleveland's "The Kings Disguise" 71
"Small Types of Great Ones": Richard Lovelace's Separate Peace 81
Resistance, Collaboration, and Silence: Henry Vaughan and Breconshire Royalism 102
"Is There No Temperate Region ...?": Coopers Hill and the Call for Moderation 119
The Garrisoned Muse: Women's Use of the Religious Lyric in the Civil War Period 130
Two Letters to Lord Fairfax: Winstanley and Marvell 144
"A Most Humane Foe": Colonel Robert Overton's War with the Muses 159
Paradox in Poetry and Politics: Katherine Philips in the Interregnum 174
"We Saw a New Created Day": Restoration Revisions of Civil War Apocalypse 186
"Ostentation Vain of Fleshly Arm": Milton's Revaluation of the Heroic Celebration of Military Virtue 202
Dismembering and Remembering: The English Civil War and Male Identity 220
The Phoenix and the Crocodile: Milton's Natural Law Debate with Hobbes Retired in the Tragic Forum of Samson Agonistes 242
Notes on the Contributors 271
Index of Works Cited 275
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