"I shall weep though I be stone": Grief and Language in Andrew Marvell

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Title: "I shall weep though I be stone": Grief and Language in Andrew Marvell
Author: Henrichs, Amanda K.
Abstract: Through the centuries, critics have struggled with the poetry of Andrew Marvell, using diverse frameworks to examine his work. In this thesis, three poems – “Upon the Death of the Lord Hastings,” “Mourning,” and “The Nymph Complaining for the Death of Her Fawn” – will be read as elegies in order to examine how Andrew Marvell treats the intersection of language and grief in the elegiac form. Traditionally, the elegy is meant first to praise and lament the deceased, and then to console the survivors. However, Marvell actually undermines the supposed power of the elegy to move the mourner beyond her grief. In the elegy for Hastings, the power of grief is such that it affects the immortality of poetic art; in "Mourning," both readers and poetic interpreters fail to find any significance in Clora’s tears; and finally, in the "Nymph Complaining," Marvell links grief to poetry in an intricate, complex fashion, yet ultimately subordinates the survival of the living to the power of the dead. All told, Marvell exposes the elegy as a failed form, revealing that it does not (and indeed cannot) satisfactorily achieve its traditional goal of consoling the bereaved.
Description: 55 p. A THESIS Presented to the Department of English and the Clark Honors College of the University of Oregon in partial fulfillment of the requirements for degree of Bachelor of Arts, Spring 2008.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1794/6557
Date: 2008

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