'The Swelling Hall': Andrew Marvell and the Politics of Architecture at Nun Appleton House

Partner, Jane
October 2008
Seventeenth Century;Autumn2008, Vol. 23 Issue 2, p225
Academic Journal
Andrew Marvell's poem 'Upon Appleton House' (circa 1650-52) is considered to be one of his most significant works. Written whilst Marvell was working as a tutor in the household of the retired Parliamentarian general Thomas Fairfax, its aesthetic and political attitudes have caused critical controversy. My article brings new information about Appleton House itself into the literary debate, showing how the remodelling of Fairfax's property by the architect John Webb during Marvell's stay might elucidate the poet's apparently ambivalent attitude towards architecture in the poem. More broadly, this evidence also gives a new perspective on Marvell's own political affiliations at this date.


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