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9.10.04

"To his coy mistress" by Andrew Marvell: An analysis

"Had we but world enough, and time" begins this wonderful piece of beseeching love poetry from the 17th century. The implications for a reading of the poem is dramatic: the poem concerns itself not only with an adress of amorous intent, but with more fundamental questions of the poet's in-der-welt-sein, which will be the central subject matter of this reading.

The text alerts us to this intent of existential exploration by immediately invoking space and time in its opening lines, thus signaling the fundamental problem of man's already-being-in-the-world and already-being-in-time. Behind the words of love, it says, lies always death, the null point of creation and destruction that makes the human experience always-liminal. Thus, seemingly foreshadowing Sigmund Freud's Eros-Thanatos division of the human psyche three centuries ahead of its time, Marvell seeks to compress the division of desire and time imposed on the fragmented, naked experience of being into a manageable now-ness of constant awareness. A perpetual orgasm, literally faced with the spectacle of death. Meaning is created through presence in the now and

He's trying to say "let's get it on, already!"

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Martin,
Welcome back man!

October 11, 2004 3:35 am  
Blogger MGL said...

Thanks! But who are you?

Y'all anonymous people need to start leaving your names.

October 11, 2004 10:59 am  

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