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“Three Folds: Searching for Milton's Paradise Lost between Moses, Lacan, and Derrida.”

  1. Top of page
  2. “Three Folds: Searching for Milton's Paradise Lost between Moses, Lacan, and Derrida.”
  3. “Milton's Mary and Eve and Garlands of Roses in Seventeenth-Century Art and Handbooks of Devotion.”
  4. “The Expulsion from Paradise: Milton, Epic, and the Restoration Exiles.”
  5. “Empirical and Prophetic Visions: Milton and the Strands of Renaissance Historiography.”
  6. “The Prophetic Universal History of Paradise Lost: Paradoxical Triumphs and Transcendent Designs.”
  7. “‘Suffering for Truth's Sake': The Conflict Between Abdiel and Satan in Paradise Lost.”
  8. “Satan's Hope Abounding in Paradise Lost.”
  9. “Dregs, Anyone?”
  10. “Faust and Alienation: Milton and the Manichees.”
  11. “The Failed Jeremiad in Samson Agonistes.”
  12. “Marvell and Milton's Literary Friendship Reconsidered.”
  13. “Miltonic Marriage and the Challenge to History in Paradise Lost.”
  14. “The Making of the Circle: Imagery as Pattern in Paradise Lost.”
  15. “Milton: Self Defense and the Drama of Blame.”
  16. “Protocols and Provocations: Milton's Gestures of Rebellion.”

Matthew Biberman. Religion and Literature 38 (2006): 177-201.

Viewing Miltonic notions of subjectivity in conjunction with Lacanian psychoanalysis and Jewish hermeneutics as expressed in the Midrash can help us better understand the fold where Christianity, in its earlier modern phase, supplements or rewrites this relation in its production of a religious subject using the same set of signifiers—the Decalogue. Such a critical enterprise clarifies how the echo of the Midrash most certainly calls up its abjection when examining the strong revisioning Milton occasions upon the rabbinic traditions that gloss passages from the Hebrew Bible. The Miltonic self is built from precisely the same material but with a minimal difference: through the force of the New Testament, the focal point in the narrative of self-fashioning is thrown back from Sinai to Eden. Milton thus evacuates Sinai, converting a site of retrogression (e.g., the resituation of the Sinai moment in Eden). In doing so, Milton echoes a sermon delivered by the English Hebraist John Lightfoot, delivered in March 1660. Both Milton and Lightfoot teach emblematically: the duties of the Decalogue's first tablet (humanity's dealings with God) are dissolved into the second tablet (the laws conjuring a relation between human and human that would define what it means to act ethically or as neighbors). Milton's strategy reflects a complex engagement with the same tradition that produces the Lacanian model of subjectivity.

“Milton's Mary and Eve and Garlands of Roses in Seventeenth-Century Art and Handbooks of Devotion.”

  1. Top of page
  2. “Three Folds: Searching for Milton's Paradise Lost between Moses, Lacan, and Derrida.”
  3. “Milton's Mary and Eve and Garlands of Roses in Seventeenth-Century Art and Handbooks of Devotion.”
  4. “The Expulsion from Paradise: Milton, Epic, and the Restoration Exiles.”
  5. “Empirical and Prophetic Visions: Milton and the Strands of Renaissance Historiography.”
  6. “The Prophetic Universal History of Paradise Lost: Paradoxical Triumphs and Transcendent Designs.”
  7. “‘Suffering for Truth's Sake': The Conflict Between Abdiel and Satan in Paradise Lost.”
  8. “Satan's Hope Abounding in Paradise Lost.”
  9. “Dregs, Anyone?”
  10. “Faust and Alienation: Milton and the Manichees.”
  11. “The Failed Jeremiad in Samson Agonistes.”
  12. “Marvell and Milton's Literary Friendship Reconsidered.”
  13. “Miltonic Marriage and the Challenge to History in Paradise Lost.”
  14. “The Making of the Circle: Imagery as Pattern in Paradise Lost.”
  15. “Milton: Self Defense and the Drama of Blame.”
  16. “Protocols and Provocations: Milton's Gestures of Rebellion.”

Joan Blythe. CEA Critic 68.1-2 (Fall 2005-Winter 2006): 85-96.

As Satan nears Eve, who tends flowers alone in Book 9 of Paradise Lost, his view of her is partially blocked. The roses that encircle and frame Eve's beauty evoke one of the most popular stylistic portrayals of the Virgin Mary in seventeenth-century art, as well as in the numerous devotional works wherein roses provide a touchstone for celebrating the virtues of the mother of God. Both the artistic concept of representing Mary and baby Jesus (or the threesome of the holy family) in a garland of roses and other flowers and that of associating Mary allegorically with roses seem on the surface to pertain primarily to Roman Catholicism. Although Protestants theologically rejected the cult of the Virgin, there remained much in common between the two traditions, and therefore we find images and emotional touchstones from Roman Catholic culture permeating the works of many non-Catholic artists, including Milton. By considering examples of the devotional treatment of Mary in the works of the Flemish artist Hans Brueghel and his circle, and in one of the most popular handbooks of the Jesuit Jeremias Drexel, we obtain a richer understanding of the importance of Mary in both Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained.

“The Expulsion from Paradise: Milton, Epic, and the Restoration Exiles.”

  1. Top of page
  2. “Three Folds: Searching for Milton's Paradise Lost between Moses, Lacan, and Derrida.”
  3. “Milton's Mary and Eve and Garlands of Roses in Seventeenth-Century Art and Handbooks of Devotion.”
  4. “The Expulsion from Paradise: Milton, Epic, and the Restoration Exiles.”
  5. “Empirical and Prophetic Visions: Milton and the Strands of Renaissance Historiography.”
  6. “The Prophetic Universal History of Paradise Lost: Paradoxical Triumphs and Transcendent Designs.”
  7. “‘Suffering for Truth's Sake': The Conflict Between Abdiel and Satan in Paradise Lost.”
  8. “Satan's Hope Abounding in Paradise Lost.”
  9. “Dregs, Anyone?”
  10. “Faust and Alienation: Milton and the Manichees.”
  11. “The Failed Jeremiad in Samson Agonistes.”
  12. “Marvell and Milton's Literary Friendship Reconsidered.”
  13. “Miltonic Marriage and the Challenge to History in Paradise Lost.”
  14. “The Making of the Circle: Imagery as Pattern in Paradise Lost.”
  15. “Milton: Self Defense and the Drama of Blame.”
  16. “Protocols and Provocations: Milton's Gestures of Rebellion.”

Christopher D'Addario. Exile and Journey in Seventeenth-Century Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2007. 87-123.

After 1660, displacement and exile had been or were the common fates of English men and women on both sides of the ideological divide. An examination of Milton's writings from 1660 to 1667 demonstrates the effects of the experience of exile on one of the more prominent revolutionary authors after the Restoration as he contemplated England's return to Egypt. In bothThe Readie and Easie Way, and, more fully, in Paradise Lost, Milton works to resituate himself within the print world of London while attempting to comprehend the defeat of the revolutionary cause and his sequestration. Just as in the other pamphlets and diaries of the defeated revolutionaries, Milton in The Readie and Easie Way seeks to counteract the specific exigencies of political and religious displacement and his marginalization as a writer through the formulation of new modes of speaking as well as transformations of old.

“Empirical and Prophetic Visions: Milton and the Strands of Renaissance Historiography.”

  1. Top of page
  2. “Three Folds: Searching for Milton's Paradise Lost between Moses, Lacan, and Derrida.”
  3. “Milton's Mary and Eve and Garlands of Roses in Seventeenth-Century Art and Handbooks of Devotion.”
  4. “The Expulsion from Paradise: Milton, Epic, and the Restoration Exiles.”
  5. “Empirical and Prophetic Visions: Milton and the Strands of Renaissance Historiography.”
  6. “The Prophetic Universal History of Paradise Lost: Paradoxical Triumphs and Transcendent Designs.”
  7. “‘Suffering for Truth's Sake': The Conflict Between Abdiel and Satan in Paradise Lost.”
  8. “Satan's Hope Abounding in Paradise Lost.”
  9. “Dregs, Anyone?”
  10. “Faust and Alienation: Milton and the Manichees.”
  11. “The Failed Jeremiad in Samson Agonistes.”
  12. “Marvell and Milton's Literary Friendship Reconsidered.”
  13. “Miltonic Marriage and the Challenge to History in Paradise Lost.”
  14. “The Making of the Circle: Imagery as Pattern in Paradise Lost.”
  15. “Milton: Self Defense and the Drama of Blame.”
  16. “Protocols and Provocations: Milton's Gestures of Rebellion.”

John G. Demaray. From Pilgrimage to History: The Renaissance and Global Historicism. New York: AMS P, 2006. 103-28.

Besides providing classical epic form and conventions in Paradise Lost, Milton adopted a biblical argument “unattempted yet in Prose or Rime” on the Fall of humankind and the ensuing universal history of the human race. He elucidated this argument, with great imaginative originality and power, by subsuming in his work two competing, blurred, and sometimes literally opposed currents of revisionist Renaissance historiography: the empirical reporting of events and the prophetic revelation of universal historical design. The two strands are so fully and ingeniously realized in Milton's epic that they serve, although in a poem, as a uniquely informed example of those key Renaissance historicist tendencies. In later centuries, as secular historicist outlooks supplanted religious views, other historicist empirical and structural strands appeared, transformed in meaning but still reflective of Renaissance models, in the scientific or philosophical historicism of authors as disparate as George Frederick Hegel, Karl Marx, and Fredrick Engels. In Milton's work, prophetic and empirical structures, along with the patterned arrangement of cosmological references, require examination as general indicators of much in historicism that was to follow.

“The Prophetic Universal History of Paradise Lost: Paradoxical Triumphs and Transcendent Designs.”

  1. Top of page
  2. “Three Folds: Searching for Milton's Paradise Lost between Moses, Lacan, and Derrida.”
  3. “Milton's Mary and Eve and Garlands of Roses in Seventeenth-Century Art and Handbooks of Devotion.”
  4. “The Expulsion from Paradise: Milton, Epic, and the Restoration Exiles.”
  5. “Empirical and Prophetic Visions: Milton and the Strands of Renaissance Historiography.”
  6. “The Prophetic Universal History of Paradise Lost: Paradoxical Triumphs and Transcendent Designs.”
  7. “‘Suffering for Truth's Sake': The Conflict Between Abdiel and Satan in Paradise Lost.”
  8. “Satan's Hope Abounding in Paradise Lost.”
  9. “Dregs, Anyone?”
  10. “Faust and Alienation: Milton and the Manichees.”
  11. “The Failed Jeremiad in Samson Agonistes.”
  12. “Marvell and Milton's Literary Friendship Reconsidered.”
  13. “Miltonic Marriage and the Challenge to History in Paradise Lost.”
  14. “The Making of the Circle: Imagery as Pattern in Paradise Lost.”
  15. “Milton: Self Defense and the Drama of Blame.”
  16. “Protocols and Provocations: Milton's Gestures of Rebellion.”

John G. Demaray. From Pilgrimage to History: The Renaissance and Global Historicism. New York: AMS P, 2006. 129-48.

To give a total, transcendent prophetic structure to his epic by depicting divine “historical epochs” in a timeless eternity, a paradox to begin with, Milton, while indebted to the Bible and a range of classical and other literary sources, had little choice except imaginatively to invent much of what he presented of events in heaven and hell. In developing his historicist idea or invention, Milton first had to decide upon what biblical events in eternity, most of them beyond time and others directly intersecting with earthly episodes in time, constituted the ultimate history of heaven and hell. He also had to decide upon the patterned divine frame and structure for otherworldly events and for all of universal history; and he had to determine how this otherworldly history might be immediately represented. Because recent critics have often concentrated on passages seemingly pointing to specific early issues of British politics or colonialism, critical attention has been distracted from the originality and strangeness of what finally emerges as Milton's idea and representation of God's grand historical design. Milton's containing form serves as a culminating imaginative example of Renaissance prophetic structures.

“‘Suffering for Truth's Sake': The Conflict Between Abdiel and Satan in Paradise Lost.”

  1. Top of page
  2. “Three Folds: Searching for Milton's Paradise Lost between Moses, Lacan, and Derrida.”
  3. “Milton's Mary and Eve and Garlands of Roses in Seventeenth-Century Art and Handbooks of Devotion.”
  4. “The Expulsion from Paradise: Milton, Epic, and the Restoration Exiles.”
  5. “Empirical and Prophetic Visions: Milton and the Strands of Renaissance Historiography.”
  6. “The Prophetic Universal History of Paradise Lost: Paradoxical Triumphs and Transcendent Designs.”
  7. “‘Suffering for Truth's Sake': The Conflict Between Abdiel and Satan in Paradise Lost.”
  8. “Satan's Hope Abounding in Paradise Lost.”
  9. “Dregs, Anyone?”
  10. “Faust and Alienation: Milton and the Manichees.”
  11. “The Failed Jeremiad in Samson Agonistes.”
  12. “Marvell and Milton's Literary Friendship Reconsidered.”
  13. “Miltonic Marriage and the Challenge to History in Paradise Lost.”
  14. “The Making of the Circle: Imagery as Pattern in Paradise Lost.”
  15. “Milton: Self Defense and the Drama of Blame.”
  16. “Protocols and Provocations: Milton's Gestures of Rebellion.”

Charles W. Durham. CEA Critic 68.1-2 (Fall 2005-Winter 2006): 60-66.

One of Milton's most important ideas in Areopagitica is that truth needs no external aids to support it. He speaks to the issue directly in the prose tract: “And though all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play upon the earth, so Truth be in the field, we do injuriously by licensing and prohibiting to misdoubt her strength. Let her and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter.” So dear to Milton's heart is this doctrine that it is the focus throughout Paradise Lost, which contains two specific episodes where active application of the principle of free speech applies and where the outcome of the grapple between Truth and Falsehood is made clear. The two episodes occur in Books 5 and 6 of the poem, when Satan, an “Arch-Angel great in Power” representing Falsehood, is confronted by Abdiel, a lower-ranked angel representing Truth. As these two episodes with Satan and Abdiel testify, Milton was committed to dramatizing truth's superiority to falsehood in Paradise Lost, and in doing so, he remained consistent with those earlier statements in Areopagitica.

“Satan's Hope Abounding in Paradise Lost.”

  1. Top of page
  2. “Three Folds: Searching for Milton's Paradise Lost between Moses, Lacan, and Derrida.”
  3. “Milton's Mary and Eve and Garlands of Roses in Seventeenth-Century Art and Handbooks of Devotion.”
  4. “The Expulsion from Paradise: Milton, Epic, and the Restoration Exiles.”
  5. “Empirical and Prophetic Visions: Milton and the Strands of Renaissance Historiography.”
  6. “The Prophetic Universal History of Paradise Lost: Paradoxical Triumphs and Transcendent Designs.”
  7. “‘Suffering for Truth's Sake': The Conflict Between Abdiel and Satan in Paradise Lost.”
  8. “Satan's Hope Abounding in Paradise Lost.”
  9. “Dregs, Anyone?”
  10. “Faust and Alienation: Milton and the Manichees.”
  11. “The Failed Jeremiad in Samson Agonistes.”
  12. “Marvell and Milton's Literary Friendship Reconsidered.”
  13. “Miltonic Marriage and the Challenge to History in Paradise Lost.”
  14. “The Making of the Circle: Imagery as Pattern in Paradise Lost.”
  15. “Milton: Self Defense and the Drama of Blame.”
  16. “Protocols and Provocations: Milton's Gestures of Rebellion.”

Mary C. Fenton. CEA Critic 68.1-2 (Fall 2005-Winter 2006): 47-59.

Hope offers at least part of the answer to the overriding question of why in Paradise Lost Satan rebels against God in the first place. Both satanists and anti-satanists posit reasons ranging from Satan's inherent pride, dissension against God's perceived tyranny, or even refusal to worship the newly created Adam. Despite these rationales, the question still remains: did Satan really think he could take on God in heaven and win? Even Gabriel seems to acknowledge that it was not necessarily a foregone conclusion that Satan would lose: “wherefore but in hope / To disposses him, and thyself to reigne?” In one regard, Gabriel's question can be read as a derisive accusation of Satan's seemingly foolhardy and traitorous move to defy God to arms. Yet Gabriel's question also offers another perspective that God's omnipotence may not have been irrefutable—that it was loyalty to God, not necessarily the accepted fact of God's omnipotence, that kept the good angels from “put[ting] to the proof his high Supremacy.” What drove Satan's hope to oust God may indeed simply have been a combination of pride and self-deception, yet as many have already argued, Milton's God may be at least partially responsible for Satan's motives and apparent miscalculation. From this perspective, Satan's hope, first to have “equal'd the most High,” and subsequently to “disturb / His inmost counsels from thir destind aim,” stands as not quite so miscalculated, and his assessment of God and the politics of heaven not quite so egregiously erroneous.

“Dregs, Anyone?”

  1. Top of page
  2. “Three Folds: Searching for Milton's Paradise Lost between Moses, Lacan, and Derrida.”
  3. “Milton's Mary and Eve and Garlands of Roses in Seventeenth-Century Art and Handbooks of Devotion.”
  4. “The Expulsion from Paradise: Milton, Epic, and the Restoration Exiles.”
  5. “Empirical and Prophetic Visions: Milton and the Strands of Renaissance Historiography.”
  6. “The Prophetic Universal History of Paradise Lost: Paradoxical Triumphs and Transcendent Designs.”
  7. “‘Suffering for Truth's Sake': The Conflict Between Abdiel and Satan in Paradise Lost.”
  8. “Satan's Hope Abounding in Paradise Lost.”
  9. “Dregs, Anyone?”
  10. “Faust and Alienation: Milton and the Manichees.”
  11. “The Failed Jeremiad in Samson Agonistes.”
  12. “Marvell and Milton's Literary Friendship Reconsidered.”
  13. “Miltonic Marriage and the Challenge to History in Paradise Lost.”
  14. “The Making of the Circle: Imagery as Pattern in Paradise Lost.”
  15. “Milton: Self Defense and the Drama of Blame.”
  16. “Protocols and Provocations: Milton's Gestures of Rebellion.”

Stanley Fish. CEA Critic 68.1-2 (Fall 2005-Winter 2006): 43-46.

It is easy to see why Chaos has become such a focal point of dispute in Milton studies—the very name suggests the problem and raises the question posed by John Rogers: “Where does this stuff come from?” (135). The answer demanded by Milton's monism, whether articulated in the Christian Doctrine or by Raphael when he says “one Almighty is, from who / All things proceed,” is that stuff—the stuff of Chaos, including the “black tartareous dregs / Adverse to life”—comes from God. But if something “infernal” and “adverse to life” comes from God, is not God the origin of evil and therefore the true cause of the disobedience he would then unfairly punish? And if one seeks to save God's goodness by locating the infernal dregs outside of him, is not the rescue performed at the price of his divine power? The answer is to be found where it is almost always to be found in Milton's thought, in the doctrine of free will as it relates to the sphere of moral action. In essence, the doctrine is simple: the infusion of the vitalizing spirit is the work of God; its maintenance is the work of the free agent who is free precisely either to sustain the connection between his or her motions and the source of life or to break that connection and become dead and inert.

“Faust and Alienation: Milton and the Manichees.”

  1. Top of page
  2. “Three Folds: Searching for Milton's Paradise Lost between Moses, Lacan, and Derrida.”
  3. “Milton's Mary and Eve and Garlands of Roses in Seventeenth-Century Art and Handbooks of Devotion.”
  4. “The Expulsion from Paradise: Milton, Epic, and the Restoration Exiles.”
  5. “Empirical and Prophetic Visions: Milton and the Strands of Renaissance Historiography.”
  6. “The Prophetic Universal History of Paradise Lost: Paradoxical Triumphs and Transcendent Designs.”
  7. “‘Suffering for Truth's Sake': The Conflict Between Abdiel and Satan in Paradise Lost.”
  8. “Satan's Hope Abounding in Paradise Lost.”
  9. “Dregs, Anyone?”
  10. “Faust and Alienation: Milton and the Manichees.”
  11. “The Failed Jeremiad in Samson Agonistes.”
  12. “Marvell and Milton's Literary Friendship Reconsidered.”
  13. “Miltonic Marriage and the Challenge to History in Paradise Lost.”
  14. “The Making of the Circle: Imagery as Pattern in Paradise Lost.”
  15. “Milton: Self Defense and the Drama of Blame.”
  16. “Protocols and Provocations: Milton's Gestures of Rebellion.”

David Hawkes. The Faust Myth: Religion and the Rise of Representation. New York: Palgrave, 2007. 81-111.

Paradise Lost restates the biblical story of the Fall as a version of the Faust myth. The forbidden fruit is a performative sign that effects a pact with Satan, and the poem analyzes the psychological consequences of this pact, including idolatry, which is the mistaking of the sign for the referent, and carnality, which is the reduction of human beings to objects. The Faust myth is profoundly influential on Milton's depiction of Satan, who, like his prototype Comus, is given many of the characteristics conventionally ascribed to magicians and witches. Preeminent among these is a denial of mediation, a refusal to recognize that the world of appearances refers to any ulterior logos, which Milton figures as Satan's irrational envy of the Son. The consequences of the Fall also include alienation. The curse laid upon both Adam and Eve is that they will experience their essential subjective activity—their labor—as alien, hostile, and unpleasant. A world made up of performative signs is by definition meaningless, and Milton shows how this absence of significance renders human life obnoxious to itself.

“The Failed Jeremiad in Samson Agonistes.”

  1. Top of page
  2. “Three Folds: Searching for Milton's Paradise Lost between Moses, Lacan, and Derrida.”
  3. “Milton's Mary and Eve and Garlands of Roses in Seventeenth-Century Art and Handbooks of Devotion.”
  4. “The Expulsion from Paradise: Milton, Epic, and the Restoration Exiles.”
  5. “Empirical and Prophetic Visions: Milton and the Strands of Renaissance Historiography.”
  6. “The Prophetic Universal History of Paradise Lost: Paradoxical Triumphs and Transcendent Designs.”
  7. “‘Suffering for Truth's Sake': The Conflict Between Abdiel and Satan in Paradise Lost.”
  8. “Satan's Hope Abounding in Paradise Lost.”
  9. “Dregs, Anyone?”
  10. “Faust and Alienation: Milton and the Manichees.”
  11. “The Failed Jeremiad in Samson Agonistes.”
  12. “Marvell and Milton's Literary Friendship Reconsidered.”
  13. “Miltonic Marriage and the Challenge to History in Paradise Lost.”
  14. “The Making of the Circle: Imagery as Pattern in Paradise Lost.”
  15. “Milton: Self Defense and the Drama of Blame.”
  16. “Protocols and Provocations: Milton's Gestures of Rebellion.”

Eugene Johnson. Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900 46 (2006): 179-94.

The jeremiad, according to Sacvan Bercovitch, is a political sermon that generally occurs in a three-part progression: “first a precedent from Scripture that sets out the communal norms; then, a series of condemnations that details the actual state of the community; and finally a prophetic vision that unveils the promises, announces the good things to come, and explains away the gap between fact and ideal.” The jeremiad has the power to harness radical individualism to communal goals because it envisions individual and national destiny as inextricably bound in a progress toward the New Jerusalem. As the individual grows closer to God, the jeremiad argues, so will the community. The jeremiad acts as a control of individualism through its condemnation of the present compared with potential fulfillment. Samson Agonistes critiques the optimism that informs the relation between the individual citizen and the national community in Areopagitica. Both the poem and the pamphlet invoke the rhetoric of the jeremiad, but Samson's interaction with the Chorus of Danites and his father Manoa indicates that the optimism present in Milton's use of the jeremiad in Areopagitica is no longer possible for him in the post-Restoration era.

“Marvell and Milton's Literary Friendship Reconsidered.”

  1. Top of page
  2. “Three Folds: Searching for Milton's Paradise Lost between Moses, Lacan, and Derrida.”
  3. “Milton's Mary and Eve and Garlands of Roses in Seventeenth-Century Art and Handbooks of Devotion.”
  4. “The Expulsion from Paradise: Milton, Epic, and the Restoration Exiles.”
  5. “Empirical and Prophetic Visions: Milton and the Strands of Renaissance Historiography.”
  6. “The Prophetic Universal History of Paradise Lost: Paradoxical Triumphs and Transcendent Designs.”
  7. “‘Suffering for Truth's Sake': The Conflict Between Abdiel and Satan in Paradise Lost.”
  8. “Satan's Hope Abounding in Paradise Lost.”
  9. “Dregs, Anyone?”
  10. “Faust and Alienation: Milton and the Manichees.”
  11. “The Failed Jeremiad in Samson Agonistes.”
  12. “Marvell and Milton's Literary Friendship Reconsidered.”
  13. “Miltonic Marriage and the Challenge to History in Paradise Lost.”
  14. “The Making of the Circle: Imagery as Pattern in Paradise Lost.”
  15. “Milton: Self Defense and the Drama of Blame.”
  16. “Protocols and Provocations: Milton's Gestures of Rebellion.”

John McWilliams. Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900 46 (2006): 155-77.

The relationship between Andrew Marvell and John Milton is typically taken to be one of straightforward friendship, an uncomplicated affectionate tie. But that assumption can be questioned if a reconsideration of the association between the two major writers is undertaken, especially one that reexamines their Interregnum correspondence, their involvement in Restoration controversy, and, most importantly, Marvell's poem “On Paradise Lost.” Readings of Marvell's great poetic encounter with Milton have generally stressed the decorous praise of the poem. An examination of the evidence in the correspondence between the two authors, including the hostilities surrounding Marvell's The Rehearsal Transpros'd and the deliberate and damning set of echoes in “On Paradise Lost,” reveals a far more difficult, and potentially harmful, assessment of Milton's epic than has previously been acknowledged. Perhaps “On Paradise Lost” represents a final quasi-revenge from one kind of writer to another—from a modest, self-reflexive artist to an audacious, self-promoting one. Friendships between major literary figures were, and are, sometimes deeply vexed: to the venerable list of fascinating yet difficult literary relationships might be added that between the reluctant poet and politician from Hull and one of the most breathtakingly confident writers the language has known. Ultimately, although this was a friendship worthy of the name, it was also a more profoundly uneasy alliance than has hitherto been recognized.

“Miltonic Marriage and the Challenge to History in Paradise Lost.”

  1. Top of page
  2. “Three Folds: Searching for Milton's Paradise Lost between Moses, Lacan, and Derrida.”
  3. “Milton's Mary and Eve and Garlands of Roses in Seventeenth-Century Art and Handbooks of Devotion.”
  4. “The Expulsion from Paradise: Milton, Epic, and the Restoration Exiles.”
  5. “Empirical and Prophetic Visions: Milton and the Strands of Renaissance Historiography.”
  6. “The Prophetic Universal History of Paradise Lost: Paradoxical Triumphs and Transcendent Designs.”
  7. “‘Suffering for Truth's Sake': The Conflict Between Abdiel and Satan in Paradise Lost.”
  8. “Satan's Hope Abounding in Paradise Lost.”
  9. “Dregs, Anyone?”
  10. “Faust and Alienation: Milton and the Manichees.”
  11. “The Failed Jeremiad in Samson Agonistes.”
  12. “Marvell and Milton's Literary Friendship Reconsidered.”
  13. “Miltonic Marriage and the Challenge to History in Paradise Lost.”
  14. “The Making of the Circle: Imagery as Pattern in Paradise Lost.”
  15. “Milton: Self Defense and the Drama of Blame.”
  16. “Protocols and Provocations: Milton's Gestures of Rebellion.”

David Mikics, Texas Studies in Literature and Language 46 (2004): 20-48.

The image of Edenic marriage in Milton—more specifically, the way that this marriage depends on the elusive character of Eve—is a way of resisting history. New historicists characteristically want to see poetic meaning as a response to historical circumstances, so that the union of Adam and Eve in Paradise Lost becomes, in their hands, a statement about the development of bourgeois marriage. In contrast, it can be argued that the creative impulse in Milton embodies en avant, an argument against the critical tradition that constrains, and sometimes distorts, a character such as Eve by reducing her to historical significance. Milton's project in Paradise Lost is essentially antihistorical: as one that gives us, in the poetic character of Eve and her relation to Adam, a way of challenging the realm of social history and politics. Paradise Lost is about the entry of humans into history, but because it asserts that this entry is only partly successful, partly achieved, it argues against the inclination to see ourselves as completely subject to historical force. Knowing Edenic marriage by reading Milton's poem, means realizing that it cannot be assimilated to the social conventions that guide the behavior of men and women in our fallen universe. The pairing of Adam and Eve stands before social history, a primal example of how poetry confronts our existence.

“The Making of the Circle: Imagery as Pattern in Paradise Lost.”

  1. Top of page
  2. “Three Folds: Searching for Milton's Paradise Lost between Moses, Lacan, and Derrida.”
  3. “Milton's Mary and Eve and Garlands of Roses in Seventeenth-Century Art and Handbooks of Devotion.”
  4. “The Expulsion from Paradise: Milton, Epic, and the Restoration Exiles.”
  5. “Empirical and Prophetic Visions: Milton and the Strands of Renaissance Historiography.”
  6. “The Prophetic Universal History of Paradise Lost: Paradoxical Triumphs and Transcendent Designs.”
  7. “‘Suffering for Truth's Sake': The Conflict Between Abdiel and Satan in Paradise Lost.”
  8. “Satan's Hope Abounding in Paradise Lost.”
  9. “Dregs, Anyone?”
  10. “Faust and Alienation: Milton and the Manichees.”
  11. “The Failed Jeremiad in Samson Agonistes.”
  12. “Marvell and Milton's Literary Friendship Reconsidered.”
  13. “Miltonic Marriage and the Challenge to History in Paradise Lost.”
  14. “The Making of the Circle: Imagery as Pattern in Paradise Lost.”
  15. “Milton: Self Defense and the Drama of Blame.”
  16. “Protocols and Provocations: Milton's Gestures of Rebellion.”

Kristin A. Pruitt. CEA Critic 68.1-2 (Fall 2005-Winter 2006): 67-75.

In his prayer in the proem to Book 1 of Paradise Lost—“What in me is dark / Illumine, what is low raise and support”—Milton anticipates his extensive use of dialectic in the poem, a dialectic implicit in his vision of a “world destroy'd and a world restor'd” and revealed in the antithetical images of darkness and light, height and depth, heaven and hell. Critics have frequently noted the prevalence and interplay of such images in Paradise Lost, but the patterned use of them at the beginnings and endings of each book has received little attention, despite its importance in clarifying the texture of “this magnificent statement of God's purpose” in illuminating the concepts embodied therein and in revealing the artful manner in which the creator has breathed life into the whole. The repeated references to light and darkness, and height and depth that frame the individual books serve several purposes. First, the image patterns are often used as devices to foreshadow the action or comment on it. Second, they are an important means of achieving unity both between and within books. Third, as vehicles both for meaning and design, the images reveal tension (dialectic) and resolution (synthesis). An examination of selected beginnings and endings of books from each of the three sections of Milton's epic illustrates the poet's use of visual and spatial imagery for these structural and thematic purposes.

“Milton: Self Defense and the Drama of Blame.”

  1. Top of page
  2. “Three Folds: Searching for Milton's Paradise Lost between Moses, Lacan, and Derrida.”
  3. “Milton's Mary and Eve and Garlands of Roses in Seventeenth-Century Art and Handbooks of Devotion.”
  4. “The Expulsion from Paradise: Milton, Epic, and the Restoration Exiles.”
  5. “Empirical and Prophetic Visions: Milton and the Strands of Renaissance Historiography.”
  6. “The Prophetic Universal History of Paradise Lost: Paradoxical Triumphs and Transcendent Designs.”
  7. “‘Suffering for Truth's Sake': The Conflict Between Abdiel and Satan in Paradise Lost.”
  8. “Satan's Hope Abounding in Paradise Lost.”
  9. “Dregs, Anyone?”
  10. “Faust and Alienation: Milton and the Manichees.”
  11. “The Failed Jeremiad in Samson Agonistes.”
  12. “Marvell and Milton's Literary Friendship Reconsidered.”
  13. “Miltonic Marriage and the Challenge to History in Paradise Lost.”
  14. “The Making of the Circle: Imagery as Pattern in Paradise Lost.”
  15. “Milton: Self Defense and the Drama of Blame.”
  16. “Protocols and Provocations: Milton's Gestures of Rebellion.”

Terry G. Sherwood. The Self in Early Modern Literature. Pittsburgh: Duquesne UP, 2007. 259-319.

Milton's pride in being chosen to defend the new English republic against attack was unabashed. His layered characterization of himself as a defender of defenders reveals an essential truth of his nearly 20 years as a prose polemicist, stretching from his anti-prelatical tracts to his last futile attempts to stave off restoration of the Stuart monarchy. His self-defense is increasingly defensive and defined by his participation in an adversarial community pursuing a strenuous Protestant ideal of common good. Milton's defensive vocational stance informs his work in ways that parallel the career of Ben Jonson. Both writers acted from a sense of personal responsibility for the common good, both took an aggressive stance in the public sphere that deliberately elicited strong responses from their audiences, both defended themselves aggressively, sustained by a strong sense of centered self, and both reflected critically on their personal behavior in their works. For Jonson, the self is centered in a notion of truth that stabilizes his humanistic sense of social responsibility; for Milton, the center is Protestant self-esteem as God's chosen vocational servant recognized by others. Milton's aggression and defensiveness are inextricable from his self-esteem, as are the related issues of blame, justice, and deserved fame that distinguish his sense of vocation. In the great poems of his maturity, Milton reflects critically on the often excessive defensiveness of his earlier vocational experience in contentious pamphlet warfare.

“Protocols and Provocations: Milton's Gestures of Rebellion.”

  1. Top of page
  2. “Three Folds: Searching for Milton's Paradise Lost between Moses, Lacan, and Derrida.”
  3. “Milton's Mary and Eve and Garlands of Roses in Seventeenth-Century Art and Handbooks of Devotion.”
  4. “The Expulsion from Paradise: Milton, Epic, and the Restoration Exiles.”
  5. “Empirical and Prophetic Visions: Milton and the Strands of Renaissance Historiography.”
  6. “The Prophetic Universal History of Paradise Lost: Paradoxical Triumphs and Transcendent Designs.”
  7. “‘Suffering for Truth's Sake': The Conflict Between Abdiel and Satan in Paradise Lost.”
  8. “Satan's Hope Abounding in Paradise Lost.”
  9. “Dregs, Anyone?”
  10. “Faust and Alienation: Milton and the Manichees.”
  11. “The Failed Jeremiad in Samson Agonistes.”
  12. “Marvell and Milton's Literary Friendship Reconsidered.”
  13. “Miltonic Marriage and the Challenge to History in Paradise Lost.”
  14. “The Making of the Circle: Imagery as Pattern in Paradise Lost.”
  15. “Milton: Self Defense and the Drama of Blame.”
  16. “Protocols and Provocations: Milton's Gestures of Rebellion.”

Joseph Wittreich. CEA Critic 68.1-2 (Fall 2005-Winter 2006): 76-84.

While it is often acknowledged that Lycidas is a coda to Justa Edovardo King Naufrago (1638), that claim begs the question whether Milton's poem is part of a dialogue among poets, and, if so, the further question about the comment those poems make on Lycidas (or what sort of comment Lycidas makes on them), especially in its abandoning a regular rhyme scheme and subsequent questioning of providence and inveighing against a corrupt clergy. To admit that the poems preceding Lycidas in the Edward King memorial volume may constitute that poem's earliest reception is also to court the conclusion that Lycidas is the intended consummation of Edward King's alleged commitment to the perfection of “sacred song.” It is, certainly, the poem that best illustrates what one of these poets describes as “the roving mind [. . .] rush[ing] into the depth of things,” and, singularly among these poems, the one that instead of succumbing to the idea that now all the arts are “gone” and dead, resurrects art in its “perplexing intricacies.” It is also the poem that rather than surrendering the future, assuming it “is gone,” asserts with quiet assurance its continuing possibilities: “Tomorrow to fresh woods and pastures new.”