Anxiety in Eden: A Kierkegaardian Reading of Paradise Lost / Edition 1

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Tanner uses Kierkegaard's thought, particularly his theory of anxiety, to enrich and enliven a bold new reading of Milton's Paradise Lost. He argues that for Milton and Kierkegaard, the path to sin and to salvation lies through anxiety, that both the poet and the philosopher include anxiety--along with pain, suffering, and paradox--within the compass of paradise. The first half of the work explores anxiety in Eden before the Fall, providing fresh perspectives on such issues as free will, the problem of a fall before the Fall, original sin, the etiology of evil, and prelapsarian knowledge. The second half examines anxiety after the Fall, offering original insights into such issues as the demonic personality, remorse, despair, and faith. Taken as a whole, Tanner's study provides a coherent new existentialist reading of Paradise Lost. Further, though intended primarily as a work of literary criticism, the book touches on matters of broad philosophical, theological, and simply human interest--such as the nature of freedom, knowledge, sin, the self, and salvation.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A careful, scholarly study of hidden facets of Milton's poem as seen through the instrument of Kierkegaard's text.... Tanner's contribution to our understanding of Paradise Lost is both original and far-reaching."--Soren Kierkegaard Newsletter

"Tanner adds a fresh voice to longstanding debates in Milton criticism."--Milton Quarterly

"This book must be added to the genuinely insightful body of Miltonist criticism.... Beautifully organized, gernerously documented, and effectually argued.... Tanner's study does full justice to Milton's dramatic argument and Kierkegaard's psychological analysis. Scholars in English Literature, psychology, theology, and ethics all will learn from this penetrating book."--Literature and Theology

"There is good reason for readers of the journal to know about this valuable contribution to our understanding of important philosophical, psychological, and doctrinal issues.... Not only is Tanner's insight into the works of two great Christian writers of value, but the book also reflects his ability to combine the languages of the academy and the Spirit, of reason and faith."--BYU Studies

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195072044
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 8/28/1992
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.81 (w) x 8.63 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Table of Contents

Note on Citations
1 Introduction: Milton and Kierkegaard 3
I Anxiety and the Potentiality of Sin
2 The Fall as Desire and Deed 17
3 Satan and Sin 39
4 Anxious Knowledge 68
5 Temptation by Anxiety 106
II Anxiety and the Actuality of Sin
6 Anxiety and Remorse 123
7 Demonic Despair 145
8 Anxiety and Salvation 170
Bibliography 189
Index of Citations to Paradise Lost 199
General Index 203
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