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Keywords:

  • Andrew Marvell;
  • libertinism;
  • seventeenth-century poetry

Marvell's ‘To His Coy Mistress’ both iterates and interrogates the discourse of sexual libertinism. His poem presents a double picture of libertine verse and the version of Epicurean philosophy informing it. That picture problematically sets topoi from the literature of sexual libertinism against Christian orthodoxy, refusing to portray their opposition in terms of unqualified polarities. At the last, Marvell leaves his readers to choose between rival visions of the world.