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Abstract

This article situates the construction of a ‘political Marvell’ within and against the ‘new’ literary historicisms that have arisen since the late 1970s. Despite the disciplinary prestige garnered in the 1980s and 90s by New Historicism in the United States and by Cultural Materialism in Great Britain, students of Marvell – I argue – were more directly influenced by the examples of John Pocock, Quentin Skinner, and the so-called Cambridge School of intellectual history. But if students of Marvell thereby early demonstrated the potential of contextual analysis for literary scholarship, Marvellians today must grapple with the limits of contextualization. Is there not, we now wonder, anything ‘beyond politics’?