The Matter of Revolution: Science, Poetry, and Politics in the Age of Milton

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John Rogers here addresses the literary and ideological consequences of the remarkable, if improbable, alliance between science and politics in seventeenth-century England. He looks at the cultural intersection between the English and Scientific Revolutions, concentrating on a body of work created in a brief but potent burst of intellectual activity during the period of the Civil Wars, the Interregnum, and the earliest years of the Stuart Restoration. Rogers traces the broad implications of a seemingly outlandish cultural phenomenon: the intellectual imperative to forge an ontological connection between physical motion and political action.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Rogers, who moves easily between obscure scientific treatise and the poetry of Milton and Marvell, shows how thinking about physical motion—the relation between objects and systems—was enmeshed with thinking about political action, and suggests that the Vitalist Moment helped spawn what would become political liberalism."—The New Yorker

"This is one of the most original and prospectively seminal studies to date of a particular era, the brief period between 1649 and 1666, the so-called 'Vitalist Moment,' which encompasses the English civil wars, the interregnum, and the onset of the Stuart Restoration. . . . Rogers is always decorous, deeply insightful, cogent, and lucid. The deeper value of this book . . . derives from its astute analysis of an intellectual climate. Intellectual history at its best. Most highly recommended."—Choice

"An important book. . . Rogers draws a vivid picture of an intellectual movement with implications that cut across the ideological spectrum, and he offers an ingenious account of how those implications were worked out . . . Students of the intersections of poetry, politics, and science cannot afford to miss this book."—Modern Philology

"A fascinating book that sheds light on a wide range of issues that were absolutely central to seventeenth-century English culture. Rogers helps to reconfigure the fault lines between seventeenth-century literary, scientific, and political discourses, and he provides genuinely new readings of some of the major literary figures of the age."—Victoria Kahn, University of California, Berkeley

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801485251
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2014
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Table of Contents

1 The Power of Matter in the English Revolution 1
2 Marvell, Winstanley, and the Natural History of the Green Age 39
3 Marvell and the Action of Virginity 70
4 Chaos, Creation, and the Political Science of Paradise Lost 103
5 Milton and the Mysterious Terms of History 144
6 Margaret Cavendish and the Gendering of the Vitalist Utopia 177
Conclusion - Adamant Liberals: The Failure of the Matter of Revolution 212
Bibliography 229
Index 251
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