This week marked the fourth anniversary of Writing Privacy. Time for a long-overdue makeover, I thought. And perhaps more importantly, time for a change.
These end-of-year epilogues have become invariably sad affairs. Of course, I would prefer that it was different, but I still believe that they help me channel energies in a better way. Last year – in what I still believe to be my best ever contribution here – I said that structural positives had been offset by surface negatives. Now, the poles have changed.
New material on Marvell’s ‘Horatian Ode’ excites me more than any other subject, I would wager. It is one of the iconic poems upon which every Marvellian faces his or her own judgement day.
I’ve thought many times before that Andrew Marvell’s life and my own show distinct traces of overlap, and it’s never escaped me that this may be one of the reasons why I identify so closely with his writing.
How much can you put yourself into the mind of another individual? My work on Marvell and Private Lives has been a wonderful introspective process because the way I’ve symbiotically linked our biographies together has given me license to think as deeply and darkly as I please.
2011 was a story I don’t know how to tell. It’s a year that had so many structural positives, countered by surface negatives. Perhaps it’s best defined by what others have said.
What is said, matters. How it is said, matters. To whom it is said, matters. When it is said, matters. The little nuances of our communication are more intricate and powerful than we often care to believe.
Sad times. I lament saying that when encountering the headline ‘Gary Speed found dead’, I knew what the cause would be.
Every so often, we hit those defining moments where we ask ourselves the all-important questions. What has made us who we are? Why do we do what we do? Why do we live the way we live? What do we value most in life?
Ekphrasis becomes a common feature of Marvell’s Interregnum writing, but before it served his Cromwellian verse, these perspective features – of viewing and reflection, of the viewer and beyond – combine in a remarkable way in Marvell’s Upon Appleton House.