The just figure : shape, harmony and proportion in a selection of Andrew Marvell's lyrics

Gardner, Corinna (1995) The just figure : shape, harmony and proportion in a selection of Andrew Marvell's lyrics. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

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The phrase "the just Figure" - a quotation from Upon Appleton House - is the central theme of this thesis as it aptly describes Marvell's repeated use of shape, harmony and proportion to suggest morality and virtue. The poet's concern with geometrical imagery is conveyed by the word "figure", which also is another term for a metaphor or conceit. The word "just" suggests not only moral appropriateness, but also mathematical exactness or fit. The thesis consists of five chapters, each dealing with an aspect of the imagery of shape and form which pervades so many of Marvell's lyrics. The first chapter, "Moral Geometry", deals with the way in which Marvell uses the imagery of lines, angles and curves. In some poems the lines are curved, as in Upon the Hill and Grove at Bill-borrow, where the graceful downward curved line of the hill conveys Fairfacian humility. Symmetry and circularity are discussed in the second chapter. The poet uses the perfect shape of the circle to depict objects which convey a moral significance. Similarly, several of the lyrics are themselves quasi-circular with their closing lines echoing their openings. Chapter Three deals with liquid spheres. Marvell explores the nature, shape and texture of tears in poems such as Eyes and Tears and Mourning; and in On a Drop of Dew uses the shape of the dew drop to suggest the perfection of the heavenly realm from which it has been parted. In several of the lyrics, Marvell places a frame around his poems to create an enclosed world in which his poetic creations exist. These enclosed, or framed, worlds are discussed in Chapter Four. The final chapter, "Beyond The Frame", describes how some of the lyrics suggest a move from the world within to the world beyond the frame of the poem.This can either be a movement from confinement to release, or from the seen world to worlds unseen. Shape, harmony and proportion are the qualities which Marvell uses to convey morality and humility and a vision of the world based on what is, in the various senses of the word, "just".

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Andrew Marvell, Lyric poetry, Shape, Harmony, Proportion, Morality, Virtue, Humility, World vision, Geometrical imagery, Moral appropriateness, Mathematical exactness
Subjects:P Language and Literature > PE English
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > English
Supervisors:Hall, R.F.
ID Code:3538
Deposited By: Philip Clarke
Deposited On:01 Oct 2012 12:01
Last Modified:01 Oct 2012 12:01
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