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This book unites the disciplines of literature and history in an attempt to set the writings of Andrew Marvell in their seventeenth-century context of revolutionary upheaval and counter-revolution. Marvell is seen as a representative figure, illustrating the problems the intellectual inevitably faces when he enters the political arena. Dr Chernaik traces the evolution of Marvell's writings from impartiality to political engagement under the pressure of events. He shows in the earlier part of the book how both 'An Horatian Ode' and 'Upon Appleton House', two of the greatest political poems in the English language, written during the unsettled period of the Commonwealth, are complex works of historical analysis, which present the problem of the choices facing men at a given historical moment. However, after the collapse of Puritan hopes at the Restoration, Marvell moves towards a literature of commitment. Throughout his writings, Chernaik argues, Marvell is both a Puritan and a wit, a fastidious ironist and a moralist like his friend Milton.