Hull has been called England’s most poetic city, but what can poetry from Hull teach us about the urban landscape of the city itself? The Hull poet and MP Andrew Marvell (1621-78) is today recognized alongside Milton as one of the most important poets of the English Civil War period, but Marvell’s poetry is also important for what it can tell us about the city Marvell grew up in and later served for twenty years as one of its two members of parliament. Little remains today of Marvell’s Hull: much of the medieval fabric of the city was destroyed in the English Civil War, including the Charterhouse Hospital – Marvell’s boyhood home until 1641 – and the nearby Beverley Gate, famous as the site where the following year King Charles I was refused entry into Hull – an act of defiance that helped spark the Civil War. With a focus on these two medieval landmarks from Marvell’s boyhood, this session will draw on a range of eyewitness accounts – maps, images, and written records – to reconstruct a city now lost beneath the Hull we know today. We will assess the influence of this lost city on Marvell’s own poetry, exploring how England’s most poetic city is itself ‘hidden’ beneath the poetry of one of its most significant poets. Dr Stewart Mottram is a lecturer in English Renaissance Literature at the University of Hull. He has published widely on the themes of empire and ruin in writing by Shakespeare and his contemporaries and he is currently working on an AHRC-funded project exploring the representation and significance of ruins in Renaissance literature. Andrew Marvell's own relationship with ruins is a key focus for the project, with an exhibition on Marvell and medieval Hull opening at the Hull History Centre in autumn 2015. You can follow the project on Twitter @RenRuins.
Mottram, S. J. Hidden Hull : uncovering Andrew Marvell's lost city