Sunday, May 30, 2010

George Klawitter: "Marvell’s Use of Donne"

George Klawitter
St. Edward’s University

Andrew Marvell’s Use of John Donne: “The Definition of Love”

1> That John Donne was appreciated as a poet in Andrew Marvell’s lifetime is attested by six printings of the Dean of St. Paul’s collected verses between 1633 and 1669 (Keynes 191-207). One can presume, therefore, that a man like Marvell, who developed in academic life but a generation after Donne, must have been acquainted with the gamut of the Dean’s poetry, from love lyrics to satires, and one can suspect that there would be some influence of the earlier poet on the later, if only because popularity often brings such influence consciously or unconsciously. Direct imitation, with attribution of source, is another matter, and we have none of that in Marvell, who would have no need to flaunt a schoolboy pastime as art, but echoes of a major poet are bound to float in subsequent poets because succeeding craftsmen always stand on the shoulders of preceding. Then it is up to modern readers, sensitive to both of these “metaphysical poets,” to let the two resonate off each other and sift out common theme, metaphor, and rhyme. Although both poets excelled in short lyric and satire, it is to the former genre that we should look for common ground because lyric traffics in fewer variables than satire, the latter often hostage to political climate and religious sentiment. Love, the basis of lyric, does not change much decade by decade. That both poets loved we know in Donne’s case with certainty: the jury is still out on objects of Marvell’s affection. But particularizing a love object is not essential to the penning, or appreciation, of a love poem. It may help to satisfy historians three hundred years after the fact, but identifying a love object is not necessary for the majority of readers who, after all, generally read love poems to feel good about themselves. There are, of course, multiple love traditions, notably in the English Renaissance: one can love anything from a beautiful woman to a favorite cat. And then there are Renaissance poets, like Abraham Cowley (as we will see later) and Andrew Marvell, who dive underneath the subject matter of “friendship” to champion Platonic love or, more honestly perhaps, what “Platonic love” sidesteps for want of courage or desire for privacy. That Donne loved deeply and frequently we glean easily from his lyrics: that Marvell also loved we have to guess at, fishing far beneath the surface of his lines. But identifying lovers is not our goal here. We are interested rather in tracing Donne’s influence on one specific Marvel lyric.

2> To define anything, much less love, is always problematic. The mind slips around over synonyms, tries tacking in through philosophy, gets lost in by-ways, and eventually offers up a phrase that may or may not hit the mark. Sometimes, if one is Doctor Johnson, one simply spins off into whimsy because it is easier to give up or have some fun in what is essentially a labor of grudging toil, as Johnson himself noted in his famous definition of a lexicographer. Cave people or forest people who first grappled with the welding of concept refinement did us no service by bequeathing to us an obsession for clarity. Thus it is with Andrew Marvell’s “Definition of Love” poem, which Legouis calls “the second-greatest of Marvell’s love-poems” (63). Thankfully, this poem seems an attempt to define one single relationship rather than the tendency we have inside of us to love something generic, nameless and obscure. Most readers, of course, do not see any personal references by Marvell in this poem. In fact, in contrasting Marvell’s style to Donne’s, Alvarez notes Marvell sacrificed the personal/topical in “The Definition of Love” so that Marvell might achieve a poem of some perfection, as if to suggest that a personal poem cannot be perfect:

“It seems that what Marvell gained in control he lost in pressure. He rarely, if at all, lapses as Donne did at times. But then he hasn’t the excuse. He was never as original; his poetic discoveries were within already charted poetic forms. His first desire in verse was, I think, to do it perfectly. And he gained this perfection by keeping away from insistently personal situations.” (188-189)

3> What Alvarez forgets, especially for a love definition poem, is that a definition has to start with a particular: we cannot define “house” until we have seen a house, then many houses, and thence to an abstraction of “house.” We should not therefore be alarmed if someday we discover who the personae of Marvell’s definition poem are, and I certainly hope Marvell himself turns out to be the narrator. Knowing the object of Theodore Roethke’s poem “Elegy for Jane (My Student, Thrown by a Horse)” does not ruin for me the perfection of Roethke’s poem, but even without particular identification of the narrator and the lover in Marvell’s “definition” poem, it remains an intriguing poem from a man who was conflicted politically if not sexually for most of his early years. Our appreciation of Marvell’s excellence has been phrased no better than by Michael Schoenfeldt, who has written:

“The extraordinary achievement of that exotic plant we call the Marvell of Hull was to thrive despite the oppression of another kind of “tyrant,” to avoid the “forbidden mixtures” of apostasy in an age when it was nearly impossible to do so, and to cultivate in the greenhouse of the self flowers of remarkable delicacy, complexity, and beauty.” (247)

4> Although commentators on Marvell’s “Definition of Love” poem have pointed out its reliance on John Donne, they have generally followed a path backward to “Valediction: forbidding mourning” because the separation of Donne’s compass feet seems to match the separation of the lovers in Marvell’s little lyric. For Colie, Marvell then goes beyond the Donne geometry (76), and Leishman notes that the lovers are eventually joined in Donne but remain separated in Marvell (Art 68). Elsewhere Leishman maintains that Marvell’s poem is every bit as good as Donne’s and has “the likeness of a peer” (“Some Themes” 201). But both critics may be following the wrong Donne trail because Marvell’s use of Fate prominently as the third persona in the poem should lead a reader more naturally to Donne’s “Extasie” than to his “Valediction: forbidding mourning.” Both “The Extasie” and “Definition of Love” lament the role of Fate in the frustration of the two lovers. For Donne “‘twixt two equal Armies, Fate / Suspends uncertaine victorie” as the two souls in that poem leave their respective bodies and fly up above where they “negotiate.” The Fate persona in Marvell’s poem plays a similar role:

“And yet I quickly might arrive
Where my extended soul is fixed,
But Fate does iron wedges drive,
And always crowds itself betwixt.
For Fate with jealous eye does see
Two perfect loves, nor lets them close:
Their union would her ruin be,
And her tyrannic power depose.

And therefore her decrees of steel
Us as the distant poles have placed,
(Though Love’s whole world on us doth wheel)
Not by themselves to be embraced.” (ll. 9-20)1

5> There is evident tension here that contrasts to the kind of happy dismissal that Donne affords his own Fate: in Donne’s poem the narrator believes the lovers’ bodies have every hope of eventually uniting, but in Marvell’s poem the narrator shares no such hope: “and therefore her decrees of steel / Us as the distant poles have placed.” So the insouciance of the Donne narrator works off a received conclusion of achieved happiness whereas the Marvell narrator struggles with Fate for three stanzas under the dark cloud of knowing his struggle is futile. But despair is not misery, as Berthoff explains (20). “Despair” (l. 3) is the father of this rare love birthed from the mother “Impossibility” (l. 4). Lawrence Hyman sees the tension in the poem resolved into a Platonic assertion that sensual love is sinful and only a love conceived and fulfilled in the World of Ideas can be perfect. The conflicting emotions of despair and impossibility articulated in the opening stanza of the poem “gives the poem its inscrutable tone” (Hyman 59). Whether that tone is “inscrutable” or not is up for debate, even though “magnanimous” paired with “despair” seems a paradox of sorts (Brooks 297). This little poem, however, is not as inscrutable as “The Unfortunate Lover” or any of the supposedly pedophilic poems by Marvell. “The Definition of Love” comes to a rather satisfying conclusion, a significant acceptance of the Platonic doctrine that elevates spiritual love above physical love, an idea lost on Donno, who maintains that the poem teaches us that “a perfect love…is so only by virtue of its never being fulfilled” (41). To believe Donno one would have to deny Marvell’s conclusion that spiritual (platonic) love is actually perfect love.

6> Marvell’s use of the adjective “extended” to characterize the narrator’s soul is not so much intended for philosophical musings2 as it is to indicate the narrator’s obvious interest in “extending” his body into his lover’s body just as he has already “extended” his soul into his lover’s soul, with, we presume, mutual consent. It is interesting that in this poem the narrator is neither top nor bottom, not that souls have tops or bottoms, but as Hammond has pointed out Marvell was vilified in a contemporary pamphlet as a bottom: “he engages in sodomy, particularly as the partner who is penetrated” (182). There is no hierarchy for the lovers in “The Definition of Love:” this is truly an egalitarian love-match, with neither narrator nor loved one afforded a superior position. We never are told why the partnership failed, aside from the fact that Fate instigated the breakup of this perfect love, made all the more perfect, if it is possible to perfect perfection, at the end of the poem because it is ultimately a spiritual love that need not mess around with carnality.

7> The contiguity or even interpenetration of same-sex souls is found elsewhere in Marvell as a most sublime end to be desired. I am speaking of the letter Marvell wrote in 1671 “to a friend in Persia” (Thomas Rolt), a letter which Smith suggests “belies an unusually close same sex friendship coupled with the matter of the preservation of the self against life’s adversities” (Smith 189). Marvell is certainly solicitous of his friend’s well-being:

“God’s good Providence, which hath thro so dangerous a Disease and so many Difficultys preserved and restored you, will, I doubt not, conduct you to a prosperous Issue, and the Perfection of your so laudable Undertakings. And, under that, your own good Genius, in Conjunction with your Brother here, will, I hope, tho at the Distance of England and Persia, in good Time operate extraordinary Effects; for the Magnetism of two Souls, rightly touched, works beyond all natural Limits.” (Poems & Letters 2.309)

I do not think we should make too much of “natural” limits in this letter as opposed to “unnatural” limits for friendly souls, although the compelling “Magnetism” of the image does elicit a strong sense of insuperable, if not deliciously erotic, clinging, soul to soul. “Sir, more than kisses, letters mingle Souls,” John Donne’s sentiments to Sir Henry Wotton, are hardly more evocative. It is probable Marvell had read the Donne verse letter to Wotton since it appeared in the 1633 edition of Donne’s poems, but whether he had read it or not, the idea of soul-mates was certainly pervasive enough at the time to generate comparable images from disparate poets. Never is Donne this intimate in his verse letters to women—appreciative yes, but never intimate. How could he be intimate with Lady Bedford, for example, when he was at the time happily married, although poor and in desperate need of patronage? His affection with men, however, is well documented in his poetry, especially in the verse letters to Thomas Woodward, letters which led Empson to opine that the Woodward liaison “would leave a scandalmonger in no doubt that the two lads had been up to something together” (“Rescuing” 132).

8> No such inference can be drawn about Marvell’s letters to men, and as far as his poetry goes, it remains as erotically enigmatic to us today as it was to many of its earliest readers. A poem like “The Definition of Love,” which initially may seem to have a universal audience, coalesces to an audience of one as soon as a reader reaches the pronoun “us” in Stanza V. Suddenly we are no longer involved in a general sermon on love, but we are rather drawn privately into the poet’s heartfelt feelings to some one human being, just as we are in Donne’s “Extasie.” Of course, maybe this is another Marvell pose. After all, he certainly convinces us he can inhabit the speaking voice of a nymph (pace Hammond 195) who has lost her pet fawn. Maybe in his definition of love he wants us to assume he is speaking to each of us as a party of one, or more understandably he wants us to assume the narratorship for ourselves and speak the poem to some other, when circumstances are ripe for the poem. Marvell, the son of a minister, could fulfill no more ministerial mission than to let us appropriate his own formula for dealing with separation from a significant other: my love, he is saying, is frustrated by Fate because my love in itself is perfect, and Fate cannot abide anything coming to fulfillment unless she herself can claim responsibility for the fusion. When a human being defies the gods, takes on an existential task of Sartrean engagement, and basks in self-awareness and love, that person has become the narrator of Marvell’s “Definition” poem. Some readers of the poem may contend that “us” in Stanza V is a universal “us” and does not refer to the narrator and a single lover, but such a reading makes no sense because it would mean all loves are perfect (they are not) and fate with her “decrees of steel” frustrates all love (she does not). No, this poem is intensely personal, originally meant for a single reader, and if Marvell later let it filter into his general poetic corpus, he did so for two reasons: he had no fear that anyone would discover or care about the lover, and secondly the poem is too finely crafted to let slip into a wastepaper basket. Moreover, since Marvell shared his poems with friends, he entertained no fear that he would be joshed in public for his sentiments. But before we draw any conclusions about Marvell’s concerns or lack of concern over the unmasking of narrator and lover to his contemporary readers, we will have to wait until a complete exposition of manuscript copies gives us a sense of just how public and popular this poem was.

9> Fate is a woman. Thus Marvell’s pronouns for her are feminine, as are Donne’s (Klawitter 176), but to conclude that Fate is jealous of the narrator’s interest in another lady may be a false conclusion because the “extended” image of the narrator’s masculine body is quickly followed by the “distant poles,” tumescent as they be, penile/penile or penile/clitoral or even clitoral/clitoral, in stanza V. In this pivotal stanza, Fate’s “decrees of steel” follow up on her earlier “iron wedges” (Stanza III), but the narrator is not presently interested in accepting his “fate.” In regard to those steely decrees, which Christopher Hill once read as reflecting the iron industry’s transformation of seventeenth-century England (Hill 70), the narrator sighs, “Not by themselves to be embraced.” It is, of course, wishful thinking at this point in the poem, and that word “themselves” is problematic. Smith reads the context of “themselves” as referring to the lovers (Marvell, Poetry 110), but the word cannot refer to the two lovers because the antecedent for it would have to be first person plural “us.” “Themselves” actually refers back to the third person plural “decrees of steel.” If “us” were the antecedent, the fourth line would have to read “Not by ourselves to be embraced,” and that reading would put hope in the narrator, instead of the dejected resignation that characterizes the poem from its beginning since the two bodies are not going to conjoin. The poem is, after all, addressed to one person, a kind of verse letter, as is evident from the word “us” in Stanza V. No narrator in his right mind would assert that Fate separates all lovers. It is just the “us” of this mise-en-scène who are separated by jealous Fate, and “for the poets of the Platonic Love cult, Fate was particularly malevolent” (Davison 146).

10> Just of what or of whom is Fate jealous? Marvell tells us she is angry at seeing “two perfect loves” which should “her ruin be” because perfect love would put her out of a job (“her tyrannic power depose”). In the best of the ancient traditions, the gods cannot be upstaged by mere mortals, and so Fate is a handy device to mismatch human beings. When Fate throws together two mortals who have no business loving each other for reasons of clan (Romeo and Juliet), economic status (Astrophil and Stella), consanguinity (Myrrha and Cinyras), or gender identification (Iphis and Ianthe), the gods have great fun watching the chaos and realize that once again mortals will expend so much of their energy on each other they will have none left over to challenge the hegemony of the gods. Fate is a tool for keeping the gods in charge. Thus when Marvell notes that his narrator’s love and the lover’s love are perfect, there will ensue no battle or distraction between the two parties, their families, or their nations. The gods are in trouble. The two lovers, naturally attracted to each other, do not need any “fate” to throw them into each other’s arms, but their love challenges the order of the universe and must be stopped. Marvell has run Fate in reverse mode, letting her abort what she had no part in birthing. By subverting Fate’s role in match-making, Marvell is here doing what Gruder-Poni sees him doing in both “The Garden” and “Upon Appleton House”: letting the narrator for a time become the match-maker (Gruder-Poni 38). We must note that the title of the poem is “The Definition,” not “A Definition.” So Marvell is not making any allowance for various types of love—anything that does not match his definition of perfect love is not love at all. There is only one kind of love, and that is the love sprung from Despair and Impossibility, bound to be thwarted by jealous Fate.

11> Once Marvell has used three inner stanzas to play off Donne’s “Extasie,” he turns his attention to another famous Donne image, “the planisphere. It appears in Donne’s “A Valediction: of weeping.”

“On a round ball
A workeman that hath copies by, can lay
An Europe, Afrique, and an Asia,
And quickly make that, which was nothing, All,
So doth each teare,
Which thee doth weare,
A globe, yea world by that impression grow,
Till thy teares mixt with mine do overflow
This world, by waters sent from thee, my heaven dissolve so.” (ll. 10-19)

In Donne the planisphere is a positive way of capturing flat continents and forcing them to make some kind of sense on a round sphere (like the lovers’ tears which encapsulate sorrows into tiny manageable globes). This globe is a perfect match to the globe of each tear Donne’s mistress sheds as he writes the poem about his imminent departure from her. It is a tender and genuine sentiment in spite of what William Empson seems to misread into the poem. Ordinarily I revere Empson, but I disagree with his analysis of “A Valediction: of weeping.” For him, the tears of the woman are prognostications of her unfaithfulness-to-come. Empson pulls this inference from the verb “falst” in line 8: “when a tear falls, that thou falst which it bore.” He misreads the tense of the verb: there is no future in “falst”—the tears are falling right now and are nothing but glorious symbols of the lovers’ parting grief. Then in the third stanza Empson misreads the word “spheare,” taking it to mean the narrator is “still fairly happy and up in your sphere besides you” (Seven 143). This is not at all what Donne is saying. The “spheare” is the sphere of the lover’s tear in which the narrator sees his own reflection as if in a mirror. The image carries through from stanza one. It makes no sense to think Donne is now using “sphere” to reference a planetary sphere up above the lovers. Anyway, there are no tears in those kinds of spheres. Tears are down here, below, each tear a sphere with the narrator’s reflection in it. Then all the tears gather into a sea where the narrator would drown, unless the lover stops weeping. The poem ends with a new metaphor: the soul as wind. As the two lovers sigh, they sigh in each other’s breath, and the one who sighs the most is the “cruelest” because that person will suck the life (soul) out of the other person “and hasts the other’s death.” There is, of course, in this death a sweet undertone of the usual Elizabethan play on orgasm as death. Empson may have tried to read this little poem as nefarious just so he could hammer it into one of his seven types of ambiguity. The poem is not ambiguous at all.

12> For our purposes, of course, the Donne image most interesting is the planisphere image. In Donne’s valediction, the map created is valuable to the two lovers because it becomes everything, just like the nations and rulers become everything in “The Sunne Rising.” When Donne’s narrator and mistress cry, their tears inundate their world because each tear is like a planisphere of everything that exists. It is hyperbole, of course, but where would love poetry or valentines be without hyperbole? Thus Donne’s lovers revel in their planispheres because such creations emblem the world. For Marvell, however, a planisphere would debase his love, taking it from its heavenly sphere and confining it to a bunch of lines and angles. The narrator’s love and his lover’s love cannot so meet: “ours so truly parallel, / Though infinite, can never meet.” For Dale Randall, the planisphere solution would “enable the lovers to conquer the iron barriers that separate them” (67), but this solution is not what Marvell intends at all: he wants to stress that spiritual love is the perfection of love. Thus he uses the word “cramped” to suggest the necessity of rejecting carnal love because it is not as perfect as spiritual love. A planisphere of the love of these two lovers would permit them to conjoin, but such a fleshy conjunction would adulterate the perfection of love, as Marvell sees it in this poem. Some readers may read parallel loves as a male-male love forbidden by society, but the poem never specifies gender, happy in its gender obscurity to include any two lovers who cannot physically unite and must be satisfied with spiritual union, the message of the concluding stanza:

“Therefore the love which us doth bind,
But Fate so enviously debars,
Is the conjunction of the mind,
And opposition of the stars.” (ll. 29-32)

We are never told if gender plays a role in Fate’s jealousy: she could be jealous of the narrator’s loving a man she wants for herself or she could be jealous of the narrator’s loving a lady other than Fate. A reader is free to pick an interpretation conducive to a reader’s own taste.

13> For some poets, separation of lovers is actually desirable, or so Cowley tells us in his poem “Friendship in Absence”: “Friendship is less apparent when too nigh, / Like Objects, if they touch the Eye.” He means people can tire of each other from too much contact, but he could, of course, just be whistling through his teeth since in this poem he eventually ends up rather forlorn:

“Just as a Bird that flies about
And beats it self against the Cage.
Finding at last no passage out,
It sits and sings, and so orecomes its rage.” (ll. 51-54)

What the bird is singing about is “friendship in absence” because no amount of protesting can ever accommodate a platonic love: Donne’s bodies are soon to unite at the end of “The Extasie” and Marvell’s lovers remain defiant of the stars, but separated nonetheless. Cowley admits in another poem (“Platonic Love”) a rather more honest fact:

“Indeed I just confesse,
When Soules mix ‘tis an happiness:
But not compleat ‘till Bodies too do joyne,
And both our Wholes into one Whole combine.” (ll. 1-4)

14> Cowley shares Donne’s and Marvell’s appreciation of sexual intercourse, and like the other two poets he simply has to make do with spiritual intercourse when the other kind is impossible or proscribed. Donne’s “Extasie” is the happiest, most buoyant descant on this theme, Cowley’s “Friendship in Absence” the saddest, and Marvell’s “Definition of Love” the most defiant. Smith places the Marvell poem close in composition to Marvell’s “Unfortunate Lover” so Marvell may have been in his defiant phase at the time. The playful nymph comes earlier in his corpus, and the sexy Mower arrives later. In between is the frustrated lover, forced to admit that perfect love will always be frustrated by jealous Fate, a theme carried beautifully in this gentle Marvell lyric which, through its hyperbole about perfect love, gives us an ideal to temper our infatuation with flesh. The Donnean flavor therefore that reverberates through this Marvell poem is a Donnean sense that has been Marvellized, filtered through the later poet’s own frustration in love and carried as the only definition of love, not as a suggested single definition of love. Thus a frustrated poet must make do with an amorous situation that cannot be consummated: he takes it to the stratosphere and declares it perfect.


1. All quotations of Marvell verse are from the Smith edition.

2. Marvell’s use of the word “extended” to characterize the narrator’s soul has been the subject of some remarks on the neo-Platonic musings of Henry More (see Marvell, Poetry 110).

Works Cited

Alavarez, A. “Marvell and the Poetry of Judgement.” In Wilding, 182-193.

Berthoff, Ann Evans. “The Allegorical Metaphor: Marvell’s ‘The Definition of Love.’” RES 17 (1966): 16-29.

Brooks, Cleanth and Robert Penn Warren. Understanding Poetry. 3rd ed. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1960.

Colie, Rosemary. “My Echoing Song:” Andrew Marvell’s Poetry of Criticism. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1970.

Cowley, Abraham. Complete Works. Ed. Alexander B. Grosart. 2 vols. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1881.

Davison, Dennis. “Marvell’s ‘The Definition of Love.’” RES 6 (1955): 141-146.

Donne, John. Complete Poetry. Ed. John T. Shawcross. New York: Anchor, 1967.

Donno, Elizabeth Story. “The Unhoopable Marvell.” In Friedenreich, 21-45.

Empson, William. “Rescuing Donne.” In Fiore, Empson, William. Seven Types of Ambiguity. 3rd ed. London: Chatto and Windus, 1963.

Fiore, Peter, ed. Just So Much Honor. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1972.

Friedenreich, Kenneth, ed. Tercentenary Essays in Honor of Andrew Marvell. New York: Anchor, 1977.

Gruder-Poni, Gabriella. “Cupid in the Garden.” In Sambras, 27-41.

Hammond, Paul. “Marvell’s Sexuality.” In Healy, 170-204.

Healy, Thomas. Andrew Marvell. New York: Longman, 1998.

Hill, Christopher. “Society and Andrew Marvell.” In Wilding, 65-92.

Hyman, Lawrence. Andrew Marvell. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1964.

Keynes, Geoffrey. A Bibliography of Dr. John Donne. 4th edition. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1973.

Klawitter, George. The Enigmatic Narrator. New York: Peter Lang, 1994.

Legouis, Pierre. “Marvell and Massinger: A Source of ‘The Definition of Love.’” RES 23 (1947): 63-65.

Leishman, J.B. The Art of Marvell’s Poetry. New York: Minerva Press, 1968.

Leishman, J.B. “Some Themes and Variations in the Poetry of Andrew Marvell.” In Wilding, 194-214.

Marvell, Andrew. Poems & Letters. Ed. H.M. Margoliousth. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1927.

Marvell, Andrew. Poetry. Ed. Nigel Smith. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003.

Randall, Dale B.J. “Once More to the G(r)ates: An Old Crux and a New Reading of ‘To His Coy Mistress.” In Summers, 47-69.

Sambras, Gilles, ed. New Perspectives on Andrew Marvell. Reims: CIRLLLEP, 2008.

Schoenfeldt, Michael. “The Achievement of Andrew Marvell: Excerpts form a Panel Discussion.” In Summers, 243-247.

Smith, Nigel. “Marvell Made New.” In Sambras, 179-192.

Summers, Claude J. and Ted-Larry Pebworth, eds. On the Celebrated and Neglected Poems of Andrew Marvell. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1992.

Wilding, Michael, ed. Marvell: Modern Judgements. Nashville: Aurora, 1970.

George Klawitter teaches at St. Edward’s University where he chaired the Department of English Literature for eight years. He has edited the poetry of Richard Barnfield and published The Enigmatic Narrator, a study of John Donne’s poetry.

APPOSITIONS: Studies in Renaissance / Early Modern Literature & Culture,, ISSN: 1946-1992, Volume Three (2010): Digital Archives

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