Andrew Marvell and Edward Herbert: The Dualistic Approach

Robert Ellrodt

in Seven Metaphysical Poets

Published in print May 2000 | ISBN: 9780198117384
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191670923 | DOI:
Andrew Marvell and Edward Herbert: The Dualistic Approach

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Andrew Marvell's main spiritual concerns are with the overcoming of temptation, the purification or disenthralment of the soul, and the recovery of a paradise. His ‘Dialogue between the Soul and Body’ is at first sight in the Christian tradition, but it emphasizes a duality in man's nature in a way which, in fact, calls in question the desirability of this union of body and soul. The two tendencies in Marvell's sensibility, though antagonistic, work to the same effect: their common aim is to disjoin the two natures in a bifold nature and satisfy each of them separately; to take delight in pure thought or pure sensation. The dualistic approach and the disinterest in the central mysteries of Christianity had earlier been more obvious in the poetry as well as the philosophy of Edward Herbert. A tendency to isolate the mind from the body can be seen in Herbert's poetic and philosophic speculations. Herbert's belief in immortality allows him to play on man's connection with two worlds. In addition, the Neoplatonic notion of the world-soul appealed to his mind.

Keywords: Andrew Marvell; Edward Herbert; duality; soul; body; bifold nature; mind; world-soul; immortality; Christianity

Chapter.  10012 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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