Chapter

Indemnity for Enemies, Oblivion for Friends: Changing Political Allegiances in the English Civil Wars

Penelope Anderson

in Friendship's Shadows

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780748655823
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780748676620 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748655823.003.0002
Indemnity for Enemies, Oblivion for Friends: Changing Political Allegiances in the English Civil Wars

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This chapter considers four writers who exhibit varying degrees of success in manipulating the meanings of shifting alliances. The prose polemicist Marchamont Nedham seems to flourish directly in proportion to the flamboyance with which he switches sides. The three poets — Abraham Cowley, Edmund Waller, and Andrew Marvell — frequently appear together in manuscript collections that foreground their changing political loyalties. They experience quite different fates: Cowley bemoans his lack of preferment, Waller appears as a genial timeserver, and Marvell earns a reputation as a great patriot that belies his early poems. The chapter traces the shifting fortunes of their reputations as poets and politicians. It also attends to the ways in which these authors' writings imagine political obligation, with a particular focus on the recurring figures of Brutus and of David and Jonathan. Brutus is the betrayer who stands against absolute rule. David and Jonathan are the perfect biblical friends who enable divinely appointed monarchy.

Keywords: Marchamont Nedham; Abraham Cowley; Edmund Waller; Andrew Marvell; political loyalties; poets; politicians; Brutus; David; Jonathan

Chapter.  18549 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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