The Purgative, the Illuminative, and Marvell's "The Garden"

The Purgative, the Illuminative, and Marvell's "The Garden" A. D. Cousins ommentary on "The Garden" has often tried to identify Marvell's speaker with a particular philosophical tradition or religious doctrine.! The outcome has been suggestive if inconclusive: to indicate how many different, albeit sometimes closely related, modes of thought have pertinence to his soliloquy even though none seems solely to elucidate it. 2 Although no one set of beliefs appears to shape the speaker's monologue, a quite recognizable procedure does appear to direct its unfolding. Here I propose that Marvell's speaker reflects on his retreat into the garden in terms recalling those of the via purgativa and the via illuminativa - the purgative and illuminative ways familiar from the literature of mystical experience. 3 I argue that his doing so dominates the poem's development and leads to his eventual gesturing toward the via unitiva, which forms the third and last of the mystical paths. 4 It is, therefore, especially on Marvell's evocations of the via purgativa and via illuminativa that I shall focus in the discussion that follows. I am not, however, about to argue that "The Garden" should be read in terms of Christian mysticism as set out in a form established by some famous, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Explorations in Renaissance Culture Brill

The Purgative, the Illuminative, and Marvell's "The Garden"

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© Copyright 2013 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
0098-2474
eISSN
2352-6963
D.O.I.
10.1163/23526963-90000446
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

A. D. Cousins ommentary on "The Garden" has often tried to identify Marvell's speaker with a particular philosophical tradition or religious doctrine.! The outcome has been suggestive if inconclusive: to indicate how many different, albeit sometimes closely related, modes of thought have pertinence to his soliloquy even though none seems solely to elucidate it. 2 Although no one set of beliefs appears to shape the speaker's monologue, a quite recognizable procedure does appear to direct its unfolding. Here I propose that Marvell's speaker reflects on his retreat into the garden in terms recalling those of the via purgativa and the via illuminativa - the purgative and illuminative ways familiar from the literature of mystical experience. 3 I argue that his doing so dominates the poem's development and leads to his eventual gesturing toward the via unitiva, which forms the third and last of the mystical paths. 4 It is, therefore, especially on Marvell's evocations of the via purgativa and via illuminativa that I shall focus in the discussion that follows. I am not, however, about to argue that "The Garden" should be read in terms of Christian mysticism as set out in a form established by some famous,

Journal

Explorations in Renaissance CultureBrill

Published: Dec 2, 2013

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