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The Green and the Gold - A Novel of Andrew Marvell: Spy, Politician, Poet
by Christopher Peachment

Category: Fiction / General
384 pages; ISBN: 0312314507

Rating: 9/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner


The Green and the Gold - A Novel of Andrew Marvell: Spy, Politician, Poet
Christopher Peachment
Dunne, Jun 2004, $24.95, 384 pp.
ISBN: 0312314507

Though much is known about seventeenth century English poet Andrew Marvell, there are periods with little or no information available. Showing courage or chutzpah, Christopher Peachment fills those voids by extracting what is known about this metaphysical poet and his times to create a marvelous work of historical fiction.

Marvell comes across as a paradox. He was a loner who trusted few and over time concluded that life was meaningless though he had friends such as John Milton and easily switched allegiance to an ever changing of the guard. He enjoyed women sexually, but detested females perhaps as Mr. Preachment implies due to his growing up gap towards his older sisters.

Other major points include his attraction to his twelve year old student Mary Fairfax of Appleton House, his responsibility for lighting the Great Fire of London to goad a mob to assault Catholics, and a weird tryst in Spain.

This novel stars an engaging seventeenth century poet (“To His Coy Mistress” and “Upon Appleton House”). Though well-written, Mr. Preachment fills in the blank years such as the early 1640s with speculation and creative license. This makes for an exciting look at Andrew Marvell and the era, but also difficult to decide what is based on accepted facts about the subject and what is extrapolated from the era. Still THE GREEN AND THE GOLD - A NOVEL OF ANDREW MARVELL: SPY, POLITICIAN, POET is an engaging look at a lyrical romantic poet who in midlife turned to satire as England became a house divided.

Harriet Klausner


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