Destabilizing Milton

Overview

Destabilizing Milton challenges the widely accepted view of Milton as a poet of absolute, unquestioning certainty. In "Paradise Lost," Milton confronts the failure of the Revolution by creating a poem that refuses to grant the reader any interpretive stability or certainty. While "Paradise Regained" and "Samson Agonistes" reflect Milton's deep ambivalences after the collapse of the Republic. Far from confirming his earlier ideals, in his later poetry, Milton subjects his culture's most cherished beliefs, such as ...

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Overview

Destabilizing Milton challenges the widely accepted view of Milton as a poet of absolute, unquestioning certainty. In "Paradise Lost," Milton confronts the failure of the Revolution by creating a poem that refuses to grant the reader any interpretive stability or certainty. While "Paradise Regained" and "Samson Agonistes" reflect Milton's deep ambivalences after the collapse of the Republic. Far from confirming his earlier ideals, in his later poetry, Milton subjects his culture's most cherished beliefs, such as the goodness of God, to withering scrutiny, while refusing the comfort of orthodox answers.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A welcome addition to Milton studies." --Notes and Queries

"Destabilizing Milton is a brilliant study. Its title has an aptly dangling participle which both refers to the destabilizing elements the poet introduces in his epic and to Herman’s attempt to destabilize the iconic Milton of a critical tradition that ignores the ambiguity and only emphasizes the poet’s certitude...Herman’s book cannot fail to change the way we read Paradise Lost in future."--Heythrop Journal Reviews

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781403967619
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 5/1/2005
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter C. Herman is Professor of English and Comparative Literature, San Diego State University.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: "Normal" Interpretation and the Protocols of Milton Criticism: Or, How the Interpretation of Milton Really Works
• "Warring Chains of Signifiers": Metaphoric Ambivalence and the Politics of Paradise Lost
Paradise Lost, the Miltonic "Or," and the Poetics of Incertitude
• "England a Free Nation": Milton's Prose and the Ancient Constitution
• "New Laws, New Counsels": Satan, Charles I, and the Ancient Constitution
• Incertitude, Authority, and Milton's God
• God, Gender, the Fall, and the Problem of Responsibility
• Postscript: Samson Agonistes, Paradise Regained, and the Romance Conclusion of Milton's Career

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