In order to celebrate Milton's far-reaching influence, the IMS10 was held in Tokyo, Japan.
Tokyo was a superb location for exploring Milton's cultural and global influences. By name, Tokyo also collaborates the symposium with Milton's poetic vision. When translated from its Japanese characters, Tokyo means "eastern capital," allowing a resonant pairing of Milton's eastern garden with Tokyo and also with Japan.
Participants in the IMS10 therefore traveled east, and well beyond Milton's England, to explore Milton's far-reaching global and cultural legacy.
To supplement this eastern theme, the conference featured two highly engaging cultural events. The poet, Mutsuo Takahashi, adapted Samson Agonistes to the Noh style. There was also a concert by mezzo-soprano, Mutsumi Hatano, and lute-player, Takashi Tsunoda, with a performance of Milton’s poems by Timothy Harris, actor and director.
There were planned visits to places where some vestiges of the Edo period remain so that participants may imagine what life was like for Milton’s contemporaries in old Japan. Also, participants were able to visit museums and galleries on their own. In sum, the IMS10 offered a superb forum for scholarly exploration and an exciting venue for cultural exchange.
The following is a list of the abstracts for all of the general speakers for the IMS10. This page is large, but the speakers are listed in alphabetical order.
“All that follows to p.50 very indifferent”: Richard Hurd Reads Milton, 1751-1800
-Hugh Adlington, University of Birmingham
This paper draws attention to an intriguing figure in the story of Milton’s eighteenth-century reception, Richard Hurd (1720-1808), bishop of Worcester, largely omitted from recent accounts. Like other clergymen scholars of his day, such as Thomas Newton and William Warburton, Hurd published variously on literary and religious subjects and produced scholarly editions of both classical and English literary texts (including, in Hurd’s case, editions of Horace’s Ars Poetica, 1749, and Select Works of Abraham Cowley, 1772). Hurd’s published remarks on Paradise Lost, Samson Agonistes, and Comus largely share the critical preoccupations of his time: Hurd extols the sublimity of Milton’s style, compares his epics with those of Homer and Virgil, and proposes numerous classical, biblical, and modern literary sources for images, similes, ideas, and forms of verse in Milton’s poetry.
Hurd’s extensive manuscript annotations of Milton’s works, however, written in commonplace books and in the margins of books held in the Hurd Library at Hartlebury Castle, and not previously published, add considerably to our picture of the ways in which Hurd read, and re-read, Milton over the course of five decades. Looked at one way, the overall pattern of Hurd’s copious emendations, explications, evaluative judgments, and arguments with other critics places him firmly within the “interpretive community” of his time, and exemplifies his training in classical and biblical philology. At the same time, however, many of Hurd’s proposals for intertexts for Milton’s major and minor poems are original to his annotations, appearing in neither contemporary nor in later editions of Milton’s work, and a number of Hurd’s readings of Milton are quite at odds with those of contemporary editors and commentators. Such annotations, then, raise fascinating questions about both particular and general readings of Milton in the eighteenth century, and the more general cultural process by which eighteenth-century literary editors and commentators sought to understand Milton’s work through historical and philological scholarship.
Is Capitalism a Satanic System?: Satan's Confession in Paradise Lost and the Spirit of Capitalism
-Daisuke Arie, Yokohama National University
Max Weber pointed out the role of Protestant ethics for the development of Capitalism, by referring the closing lines of Paradise Lost.
The world was all before them, where to choose
Their place of rest, and Providence their guide:
They hand in hand, with wand'ring steps slow,
Through Eden took their solitary way.
This paper will re-examine this kind of Weberian type of interpretation. There is still ambiguity in the implication in the last two lines whether Adam and Eve sinfully “fell” from the paradise or they first stepped forward to the new secular world independently: whether they can still expect the grace of God or will only follow Satan's guidance.
First, the paper reviews Weber's exceedingly Puritanism-oriented reading of the poem by investigating his Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Second, it traces and stresses Milton's anti-Calvinist taste for secularism, humanism, or meritocratic systems in the poem and related works with special concern for the implication of Satan's confession in the poem. The poem seems to support Satan's position on who fights with God. Third, it consequently claims Paradise Lost would be read as a manifesto of a totally secular world of independent men and women without less religiosity, although the poem has a strong Biblical atmosphere and appearance. The paper also tries to introduce several modern critical views of the poem in contrast with my interpretation, if space allows.
When Muslims Read Milton: Paradise Lost and a Religious Shock
-Mahe Nau Awan, University of Surrey
God does not like any evil to be mentioned openly, unless it be by him who has been wronged. And God is indeed all-hearing, all-knowing.
(Quran 4:148) (Surah Al-Nisa)
The paper seeks to explore the transcultural and transreligious issues raised by the seventeenth-century text Paradise Lost. Milton’s poem is an overtly Christian text that is taught across the globe in institutions of higher education to students from different cultural and religious backgrounds. It also seeks to focus on the experience of students who have Islamic cultural commitments, in particular by analyzing the provocative construction of femininity in terms of the physical representation and nakedness of Eve.
No current research explores the ways in which Muslim students reading Paradise Lost experience a cultural shock with regard to the representation of Eve. This paper first examines how Milton challenges Puritan Christian doctrine through a fragmentation of female identity, so that Eve is mirrored by other characters, such as Sin and Proserpina. These mythical and fictional characters experience sexual assault, and this socio-cultural aspect needs to be grounded in seventeenth-century and present-day ideologies and discourses.
The paper draws on research that also investigates the interpretations of cross-cultural students and their perception of Eve, using interviews and questionnaires while raising the question of comparison between Paradise Lost, The Quran, and The Bible, focusing on the differences of female perception, with special reference to Eve. This paper will present the findings of initial research into how the figure of Eve in Paradise Lost may be read in transcultural and transreligious discourses.
Milton and Lafcadio Hearn
-Joan Blythe, University of Kentucky
Living with the tragic loss of sight in his left eye and painful difficulty reading with his right, Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904), the writer on Japanese culture most well-known in America and England from the late nineteenth-century through the early decades of the twentieth, may have felt a special affinity with Milton. For a certainty throughout his life Hearn ardently admired Milton for his poetic genius. Hearn late in his life during his seven-year lectureship at the Imperial University of Tokyo affirmed the passion he had had for Milton ever since he read Paradise Lost as a child. Thus he told his students that Milton was “the greatest English epic poet” who wrote “the most perfect verse in the English language.” Although Hearn thought Milton had spent too much of his creative energies on political polemics, he regarded Milton tremendously for his “courage, love of truth, sense of duty,” qualities Hearn associates with the old samurai virtues. Hearn recurrently told his students how later poets such as Keats, Wordsworth, and Arnold used Milton as a model. What he did not tell them was that he himself had long used Milton as a model in the realm of language. My paper gives a brief overview of the importance of Milton for Hearn’s career as a writer, from his early journalistic gems written in Cincinnati through his New Orleans and French West Indies time (with a focus on Chita), to his publications after becoming a naturalized Japanese citizen (such as Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan, Kokoro, and Japan, an Interpretation), and his posthumously-published Tokyo lectures which appeared collected variously including A History of English Literature, Appreciations of Poetry, and Interpretations of Literature.
Ceremony in Milton's Samson Agonistes and Spinoza's Theological-Political Treatise
-Karen Clausen-Brown, University of Notre Dame
I read Samson Agonistes alongside Spinoza's Theological-Political Treatise in order to argue that Milton's tragedy, like Spinoza's tract, reinterprets ceremonies as tools that establish and maintain successful political communities by creating freely obedient subjects. I focus primarily on Milton's and Spinoza's portrayals of the Sabbath, the ceremonial day that provoked heated disputes among mid-seventeenth-century English and Dutch theologians. Responding to these debates, both Milton and Spinoza eschew forced, outward Sabbath observance that enslaves subjects, and instead re-imagine a voluntary, inner Sabbath that cultivates free but faithful subjects. Spinoza declares that the Hebrews ceremonial system, and especially the Sabbath, was the most effective means imaginable for "swaying men's minds" because it produced a political life that "appeared to be freedom rather than slavery." Similarly, Milton, while condemning the Philistines' tyrannical day of rest for failing to free Samson's mind from "restless thoughts," praises the "true experience" of Sabbath that Samson's heroism engenders because it creates free "servants" who have "calm of mind." In this paper, Spinoza's treatise contextualizes Samson within contemporary theological and political debates about ceremonies and the Sabbath, and it sharpens understandings of Milton's beliefs about the proper religious, political, and literary functions of ceremonies. Far from shunning ceremonies completely, Milton is interested in theorizing how they, much like literary texts, can educate, move, and transform political subjects.
Paradise Regained: Biblical Harmony and Narrative Dissonance
-Michael Cop, University of Otago
Milton overtly reconciles the two differing creation accounts (Gen 1:1-2:4 and 2:4-25) in Paradise Lost VII and VIII; less overtly, he reconciles the parallel biblical baptismal and temptation accounts in Paradise Regained. Like all authors who wished to re-construct one story from conflicting biblical parallels, Milton needed to find narratival solutions to biblical cruces. Gospel harmonists, for example, endeavoured to retell the “complete” Jesus story by clumsily conflating the four Gospels in toto into one new narrative, as here in Henry Garthwait’s harmony Μονοτεσσαρον (1634):
L. […]And the holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him. Mr. […]and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him[…]Thou art my beloved sonne, L. in thee I am well pleased. M. And he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him. And lo, a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved sonne, in whom I am well pleased. (19)
Jesus is declared the Son both publicly (Matt. 3:17) and privately (Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22); the Spirit descends both “in the bodily shape like a dove” (Luke 3:22) and more simply “like a dove” (Matt 3:16; Mark 1:10). For its strict adherence to biblical wording, this prose harmony—as do any other number of harmonies—has exceptionally repetitive narratives. This paper explores the notion of “harmonizing” as a method for understanding some of the narrativally dissonant repetitions in Paradise Regained. For example, in Paradise Regained I and II Milton returns to Jesus’ baptism five times (I, 18-32, 70-85, 270-286, 327-330; II, 49-52, 82-85). Why do portions of Paradise Regained seem laboriously to repeat events? As the repetitions in Paradise Lost VII and VIII do, the repetitions in Paradise Regained often reflect Milton’s labours in reconciling biblical cruces in his narrative.
Paradise Redacted: Milton and Methodist Education
This paper will examine a couple of coordinates on the lower road of Milton reception as he appeared, sometimes in little more than name only, in the thinking of Methodist preachers and educators. It will be argued that, though superficial, the presence of Milton in sermon and school contributed to a broad understanding of Milton’s religious and educational importance and also helped to sustain the higher aims of serious Milton scholarship beyond the 19th century.There will be a brief discussion about Wesley's method of redaction, with a focus on how complex narratives are necessarily reduced and distilled if one wishes to disseminate them to broader audiences. Redaction works to broaden the base of popular reception in two major ways: first, it rids a work of offensive material and second it simplifies. Wesley's methods will be compared with the Adam and Eve story in the Bible, itself an apparently redacted narrative, and also with Thomas Bowdler's Shakespeare. Given time, we will also look at several more examples of how Milton is popularized in Japanese culture. Using Aoyama Gakuin University as an example, it will be argued that Methodism established itself as a value in Japan essentially through a redacted form of so-called biblical Christianity, and Milton, also redacted, rode in with Methodism. Though literary scholars are generally perturbed by the way in which redaction damages aesthetics, the study of higher literary forms greatly depends on the branding of basic concepts through redaction and then popularization in order to justify their value to both religious educational institutions and government supported institutions.
Milton and the Spanish Catholic Church
-Angelica Duran, Purdue University
This paper explores the role of Spanish Catholic Church in the reception of John Milton in the Hispanophone world by focusing on the two sets of texts that most clearly demonstrate the institution's resistance and interference in that process. The first set is the Spanish Catholic Index Librorum Prohibitorium. We get a clear sense of what texts were most accessible in Spain and what elements were most offensive through identifying the persistent and changing identifiers on Milton's entries; recognizing the preeminence of his governmental prose over his poetry; situating Milton's entries in terms of the Latin, Hispanophone, Anglophone, and other-vernacular entries; and considering the much earlier inclusion of Milton on the Spanish Catholic indexes than on the Roman Catholic ones. The second set is Spanish translations of Milton's Paradise Lost. The paper details the inscription of the Spanish Catholic Church on the history of these translations from the nineteenth century through today. Through closely reading the two earliest and still most popular Spanish translations against Milton's original, we see how Milton's epic was Spanish-Catholicized, so to speak, and we get a sense of the influence of the Spanish Catholic Church on even today's reception of Milton in the Hispanophone world.
Invoking Experience in Paradise Lost: Grounds for Self-deception or True Insight?
-Richard J. DuRocher, St. Olaf College (In Memoriam)
After consuming the forbidden fruit in Book Nine of Paradise Lost, Eve invokes “Experience” as her “Best guide” who has opened the way to wisdom. This invocation is heavily ironic, I argue, coming immediately after Eve’s misguided vow to tend the forbidden tree daily and before her idolatrous worship of the same tree, to which she does “low reverence” (9.835). Milton continues to develop this self-deluded, ironic usage when Eve offers the fatal fruit to Adam with the words: “On my experience, Adam, freely taste” (9.988). Further support for this ironic reading comes from previous Satanic uses of experience, including cases of rhetorically exaggerated and faked, pseudo-scientific experience on his part. Yet Milton also presents in Paradise Lost a sharply contrasting pattern: a cluster of invocations of experience by Abdel and Raphael that affirms the possibility of truly learning through experience. This positive pattern of experience turned to learning and wisdom reappears in the scenes of instruction experienced by Adam under Michael’s tutelage. Milton’s two patterns of experience, one leading to deception and the other to insight, raises questions about the role of the Miltonic narrator’s reported experience, as well as the value and limits of the reader’s experience of the epic. Further, whatever conclusions may be drawn about experience from Paradise Lost might well be applied to the more-contested, uncertain drama of Samson Agonistes. There the Chorus in their final speech, seeing themselves despite many doubts as God’s faithful “servants,” ultimately claims to have acquired “true experience from this great event” (1756). Yet readers more skeptical than the Danite elders, having in mind “the heap of the dead, “ in Gordon Teskey’s phrase, that Samson leaves behind, may well return to an ironic reading, finding the results of Samson’s final act far other than “great” and the “experience” more distanced observers have of the tragedy conducive to something other than wisdom.
When I Consider How Light Is Sent in Paradise Lost
-Katsuhiro Engetsu, Doshisha University
The aim of this paper is to examine Milton’s theory of light in Paradise Lost (1667) in seventeenth-century intellectual contexts. How is light sent? The question is of special significance to the poet who, making special references to Galileo’s “optic glass” (1: 288) or “optic tube” (3: 590), was keenly aware of growing scientific interests in the behaviors of light that had been summarized initially in Descartes’s Optics (1637) and was to be recapitulated conclusively in Newton’s Optics (1704). In the famous invocation to “holy light,” after underlining the spiritual quality of light as the “offspring of heaven first-born, / Or of the eternal co-eternal beam,” Milton goes on to propose an alternative physical definition of light: “Or hearst thou rather pure ethereal stream, / Whose fountain who shall tell?” (3:1-8). The concept of “ethereal” light, which, suggested by Galileo and presupposed by Descartes, remained a critical issue in seventeenth-century optics, is repeated in his representation of the first day of the Creation: “Let there be light, said God, and forthwith light / Ethereal, first of things, quintessence pure / Sprung from the deep . . .” (7: 243-5). Although light is “ethereal,” ether is not light because the sphere of the sun, which was created when God said on the fourth day, “Let there be lights,” was “unlightsome first, / Though of ethereal mould” (7: 355-6). According to Milton’s theory, light is sent in a kind of liquid form like a “stream” through the medium of “pure” ether (“quintessence”). Personally considering how his “light is spent” in a sonnet, the early modern Christian poet explores further into its “fountain” in the epic “since God is light” (3: 3).
Milton's Reasonable Vision of God and the Spenserian Tradition
-Matthew Evans-Cockle, University of British Columbia
In Areopagitica, published in 1644, John Milton acknowledges Edmund Spenser a better teacher than either the Doctor Subtilis, John Duns Scotus, or the Doctor Angelicus, St. Thomas Aquinas. Over twenty years later, in conversation with John Dryden, Milton further identifies Spenser as his own “original.” Neither the context of the statement in Areopagitica, or anything that Dryden reports of his interview with Milton, lead us to believe that Milton was joking, or employing irony, or even hyperbole. If he meant what he wrote and what he said in these two instances, then the special affinity Milton felt for the works and/or the poetic persona of Spenser merits examination. What then, is the nature of Milton’s debt towards and relation to Spenser? If a reasonable account can be given of this connection, what impact can it be shown to have on our understanding of Milton’s works, in particular, of Paradise Lost?
In answering these two questions, this paper will show how Milton’s connection to Spenser bears directly upon his self-fashioning as a national poet and prophet. It will also show how this same connection is reflected in, and can help us to explain, the puzzling poetic image of the two sisters, Wisdom and Urania, that Milton uses to describe pre-existent deity at the point of transition between apophatic and kataphatic Godhead.
Voicings of Dominion in John Milton's Paradise Lost and Toni Morrison's A Mercy
-Bill Fitzhenry, California Polytechnic State University
‘Dominion,’ as a key word/category in Milton’s poetic lexicon, appears at crucial junctures of Paradise Lost: Satan’s Mt. Niphates speech in Book 4, Raphael’s rendition of the creation story in Book 7 (and Adam’s retelling of that story in Book 8), Satan’s encounter with Sin and Death in Book 10, and Michael’s account of Babel in Book 12. In each of these instances, Milton employs the idea of dominion to open up a poetic space for meditation on the complicated relationship between identity, language, and political order. For instance, in Book 8, Adam perceives his body (Myself I then perused…) , tests his “supple joints,” and attempts to name the elements surrounding him (“My tongue obeyed and readily could name/ Whate’er I say..”). This scene depicts how Adam uses language to stabilize his identity and to establish his dominion over the world around him. But his attempts to impose linguistic order and meaning prove inadequate since he is unable to account for his own origins (“But who I was, or where, or from what cause/ Knew not..”). Here, Adam’s partial linguistic mastery over himself and his environment may, by extension, also suggest the failure of the Restoration monarchy to stabilize political meaning and fully impose its will on a fragmented political world. However, even as the concept of dominion exposes the limits of language and political authority, it also gestures toward the possibility of more open-ended, multi-vocal forms of governance.
In her adaptation of the Miltonic idea of dominion, Toni Morrison echoes and revises many of the motifs of Paradise Lost in order to examine the origins of institutional and cultural authority in Early America, with special emphasis on race and gender. Dominion has always been a central preoccupation for Morrison, as it appears in her earlier work, The Song of Solomon, which focuses on the epic journey of Milkman Dead to regain authority over his name and identity. However, in A Mercy, instead of focusing on masculine forms of dominion, Morrison dramatizes relationships between women and reworks the idea of dominion into a more female-centered term. For example, at the end of A Mercy, the mother begs her daughter, Florens, to understand the difficult and complicated nature of dominion: “to be given dominion over another is a hard thing; to wrest dominion over another is a wrong thing; to give dominion to another is a wicked thing (167).” In these lines, the voice of the mother vocalizes the potentially dangerous consequences of exercising dominion over another human being, as she questions the legitimacy of her own act of maternal dominion in light of all the events that have occurred in the novel. Although Morrison highlights the ambivalent aspects of dominion, she also values this idea because it enables her to powerfully depict dissenting voices, strong female characters, and restore an African-American presence to Early American Literature.
Masking Tensions: Homeric Comus Revised as Biblical Lady
-Noam Flinker, University of Haifa
Milton’s Mask anticipates his longer biblical poems as it combines classical and biblical themes, motifs and values into a poem that reshapes these materials and traditions into a coherent aesthetic unit. The tensions in the Mask between Comus and the Egerton children are likewise those between the classical and biblical worlds from which their characters are partially drawn. Comus, as Circe’s son, provides an explicit link between Homer’s Odyssey and the Mask. The biblically charged language of the lady and her brothers helps to establish an intensely argued thesis against which the would-be seducer shapes his brilliant classical anti-thesis. The synthesis achieved in the conclusion resolves the conflict between the classical poetry of Comus and the morally intense language of the children by means of the poetry of Sabrina and the attendant spirit. The moral defeat of the male protagonist rewrites Homer’s epic as a celebration of femininity. Not unlike Penelope in Book 23 of The Odyssey, Sabrina and the Lady remain the dominant figures of the Mask and do so in explicitly biblical terms. The language of the conclusion is thus an early version of Milton’s later interest in refashioning Homer’s epics into a biblical mode.
-Thomas Fulton, Rutgers University
It is often presumed that Milton, like other Puritans, used the Geneva Bible. Based largely on King James’s charge of textual sedition in the 1604 conference that launched the King James Version, the Geneva Bible has often been seen as the “Bible of the people,” in Christopher Hill’s words, even a revolutionary handbook, whereas the Authorized Version is seen as authoritarian – and thus antithetical to Milton. Yet there is little evidence to support Milton’s use of the Geneva text, and a great deal of evidence demonstrating an extensive, if complex, relationship with the King James Version. This paper will rethink some of the common assumptions concerning the role of the Geneva Bible in revolutionary England, and consider Milton’s habits of use, starting with the very Bible that we know he owned, a 1612 quarto copy of the King James Version (British Library MS Add 32310), which is covered in markings, notes, corrections, and other remarkable signs of use.
Edward King and England's Wolfish Institutions: Concealed Satire in Lycidas
-Michael Gadaleto, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Did Milton really consider Edward King a “learned friend”? And if not, why did he write Lycidas? The historical record strongly suggests that the two men were not friends. King was a Laudian academic with a penchant for writing monarchist poetry, and no evidence exists of an epistolary relationship between the two. Lycidas itself has often been criticized for possessing more artifice than amity, with Dr. Johnson famously asserting that such an obscure work could never “be considered as the effusion of real passion.” Though no more convinced of the friendship than Johnson was, E. M. W. Tillyard nonetheless defended Lycidas by contending that its true subject was Milton, not King; it was the poet’s profound reflection on his own mortality and vocation that made Lycidas a great work, not its depth of feeling for a drowned classmate. However, my paper will argue that King is in fact central to Lycidas, not as an idealized friend, but rather as a figure of the precariousness of English youth in the 1630s. For Lycidas is a considerably more satirical poem than previously supposed, full of carefully concealed barbs and criticisms that extend far beyond the well-known St. Peter digression; and this satirical aspect is only made apparent once one has acknowledged Milton’s opposition to King’s institutional affiliations. As Neil Forsyth has recently pointed out, for example, the name “Lycidas” itself is actually Greek for “son of wolf,” a hidden indictment of King’s connection with the wolfish Laudian Church. King is not Milton’s real satirical target, however, for Lycidas ultimately bewails the young man’s corruption by those same institutions tasked with nurturing and protecting him—the university, the monarchy, and the church. Given the threat of censorship in 1637 and the pressure to blend in with the other Justa poems, Milton’s attack on these institutions is understandably subtle, and primarily achieved through the use of puns and allusions. For instance, Camus, the personified river Cam in Cambridge, is depicted as wearing a hyacinthine bonnet, a detail which refers back to Ovid’s Hyacinthus, a young man who is killed while playing discus with his lover Apollo. The allusion implies that Cambridge University, like the negligent Apollo, is partly to blame for the death of one of its own, and that no amount of hypocritical mourning will bring him back. By drawing attention to details like these, my paper will offer a new perspective on one of Milton’s richest and most challenging poems, demonstrating how Lycidas is not only a personal meditation, but also a young poet’s satirical assault on an England that bestializes its best and brightest.
Comus and the Trial of Liturgy
-David Gay, University of Alberta
Several critics have examined Milton’s A Maske or Comus in the context of the liturgical controversies of the 1630’s. Achsah Guibbory, for example, calling attention to the representation of sacraments and to the role of the body in worship, argues that, “Milton’s Lady provided a ready figure for representing the godly Christian and the church” (167). My paper will call attention to another aspect of liturgical controversy: the debate over extemporaneous versus scripted prayers. Several treatises published in the 1630’s present this controversy in terms of trials, whether in the form of dialogues and debates or polemical exchanges. Ambrose Fisher portrays a debate between two imaginary opponents in his Defense of the Liturgie of the Church of England (1630). The anonymous Triall of the English Liturgie (1638, rpt. 1661) challenges those who worship God by human “inventions and appointments” (4), and refers to the danger of speaking publicly on this issue. John Ball’s A friendly triall of the grounds tending to separation in a plain and modest dispute (1640) defends set forms of prayer, and provoked a response from John Cotton (1642). The staging of Comus in 1634 and the publications of the poem with revisions in 1637 and 1645 provide dates that encompass these polemical exchanges, since Milton (as the 1645 headnote to “Lycidas” illustrates) recognized that new contexts defined points of engagement for his early poems (the poem appears again in 1673). Issues raised in these treatises that may overlap with Comus include distinctions between private and public prayer, attitudes to the mediation of angels and saints, and perceptions of idolatry in language. My paper will examine Comus in relation to these trials of liturgy in order to assess the poem’s engagement with the subject of extemporaneous prayer.
“Life to him would be death to me”: The Romantic Struggle against the Miltonic Legacy in John Keats’s Hyperion
-Mie Gotoh, Fukuoka University of Education
The marginalia in John Keats’s copy of Paradise Lost on Milton’s gift for sublimity show Keats’s admiration for Milton’s great epic. He declares: “Milton is godlike in the sublime pathetic.” On the other hand, Keats wrestles with Miltonic blank verse in Hyperion and laments: “Life to him would be death to me.” Keats seems to strive for the Miltonic legacy, but at the same time he also tries to marginalize it. Hyperion, as Keats’s revision of Paradise Lost, epitomizes a poetic process in which Keats tries to free himself from “Miltonic” poetics.
In Hyperion, Keats opens up a war between the Titans and the Olympians, and the figuration of the fallen Saturn located in a sublime chasmic landscape alludes to Milton’s Satan. The ambitious fragment of Hyperion seemingly marks Keats’s intentions for a great artistic development—from pastoral to epic—, and the ambition to secure a place in poetic tradition. However, the excessive appeal of pictorial richness in the imagery of the Titans runs counter to “judicious obscurity” as the Burkean definition of a Miltonic style. Added to the spectacle embodied in the Titans, visual images are rehearsed in the description of Apollo. Keats’s epic might well have aimed to control visual clarity by sublimating it into Miltonic moral absolutes; the spectacle of Hyperion, however, is at odds with the abstract rigors of Milton’s epic.
In this paper, I will focus on Keats’s challenge to contemporary expectations for an epic-style, inherited from Milton’s great epic, to argue that Keats subversively promoted a modern poetics of the eye. His innovative qualities of language reflect the Romantic struggle against the literary legacy of Milton’s epic.
Discipline in Paradise
-Kenneth Graham, University of Waterloo
In “Milton and the Disciplinary Sphere,” the paper I delivered at the Ninth International Milton Symposium, I reconsidered the development of Milton’s thought about church discipline in light of developments within what Ethan Shagan has called the evangelical public sphere. I argued that while Milton mostly remains true to one tradition of Reformed thought about discipline, he responds to the toleration controversy of the 1640s and 50s by placing more emphasis on the place of reasoned debate within disciplinary processes. “Discipline in Paradise” moves this inquiry ahead to the Restoration and post-Restoration scene, reading Paradise Lost in relation to both Milton’s early and late writings on discipline. I seek to answer several questions. How are disciplinary processes represented in the poem? How do they attempt to balance the twin demands of reason and command, with which Milton had wrestled since The Reason of Church Government? How and with what success do they attempt to reconcile the claims of individual liberty with the interests of the community? To what extent is difference of opinion a productive part of discipline in paradise, and to what extent is it destructive? What role does discipline play in the poem’s efforts to distinguish the elect from the reprobate? In general, I will argue that Paradise Lost is Milton’s fullest and most important late treatment of a subject that was always close to his heart.
“Joy and harmles pastime”: Milton’s Rehabilitation of Otium
-Mandy Green, University of Durham
Milton’s reputation as a workaholic is an integral part of his self-fashioning as a literary figure: the maid had to sit up for him till the early hours, he worked so late as a schoolboy; unlike his school friend Diodati, Milton’s intellectual temperament was one which could endure no interruption, no rest until “I can attain my object and complete some great period, as it were, of my studies” (Epist. 6; Riverside, 1051). To this end, as he looked back in An Apology for a Pamphlet, he “spent and tir’d out almost a whole youth,” assiduously preparing himself in “wearisome labours and studious watchings” (Col. 3.i.282). All this makes him seem at first glance an unlikely champion in the rehabilitation of otium, and yet, in Milton’s hands, not only does otium shed its pejorative associations, but it also becomes an essential phase in the creative process.
For scholar-poets as well as vocational academics, the line between work and play is, of course, notoriously blurred: work and leisure become unstable and slippery notions—one has the habit of metamorphosing into the other. While Milton’s academic exercises at Cambridge were seen by him to be exclusively the product of drudgery and toil, his literary activities, the domain of studia partook of both aspects, being at once a serious pursuit and a form of recreation; and this doubleness, this complication of mood, is intimately bound up with Milton’s response to, and treatment of Ovid, reading whom, of all the “smooth Elegiack Poets”, “no recreation came … better welcome” (Col. 3.i.302). This paper will be examining the place of “Joy and harmles pastime” in Milton’s writings.
Milton and Cromwell: Another Look at the Evidence
-Tobias B. Gregory, Catholic University of America
“There is a consensus,” writes Joad Raymond, “that at some point between 1653 and 1659, Milton became disillusioned with Cromwell”. This paper will undertake a review of the evidence for said disillusionment. That evidence is drawn from Milton’s writings, particularly the prose of the late 1650s; the reference in Likeliest Means to a “short but scandalous night of interruption,” for example, has been often taken to refer to the period of the Protectorate. In addition to the written record, there is also the evidence of Milton’s actions, insofar as we know them. The paper will examine the arguments sustaining the consensus view (Wolfe, Woolrych, et al.) as well as those questioning it (Fallon, Stevens). It will conclude with some thoughts on the question’s implications.
“Me thou think’st not slow”: Contemporaneous Time in Paradise Lost
Blaine Greteman, University of Iowa
In one of literature’s greatest understatements Raphael reminds Adam that he is “not slow,” recounting his dazzling feat of flying from heaven to Eden “ere mid-day” – a distance and speed “inexpressible / By numbers that have name” (VIII.110-12). Such journeys may exhaust Milton’s math, but they invigorate his narrative. Rather than seeing Raphael arrive in a flash, we get a blow-by-blow account: “Now on the polar winds,” “he flies,” “he lights,” and “now is come / Into the blissful field” (V.269, 274, 276, 291). On the edge of comprehensibility Milton finds not confusion but contemporaneity – this action happens “now,” as we read it.
Harry Berger Jr. has noted that during the seventeenth century the “changing conceptions of self and experience at some time penetrated the practice of lyric poetry so that the poem was conceived not merely as a report of prior experience but as the unfolding of experience itself.” This paper argues that Paradise Lost is an epic experiment in this poetic practice, which it reveals most clearly in the poem’s meditations on angelic actions unfolding in contemporaneous time. Milton’s angels have long been central to discussions of his materialism, while their relationship to scholasticism, natural philosophy, and poetics is the subject of recent books by Joad Raymond and Feisal Mohamed. This paper builds on this work to explore the way Milton’s poem engages with an emerging seventeenth-century concept of contemporaneity or “nowness.” Raymond suggests that “Milton’s angels are objects of natural-philosophical language” (303), and I show specifically how the poem’s depiction of angelic motion happening “now” engaged with a newly experimental and experiential science. This science increasingly relied on networks of communication and investigated the possibilities of instantaneous communication. Likewise, in its depictions of angelic speed and its limits, Paradise Lost is quite literally an “experimental” text, exploring time and space on the field of human perception.
Editing De Doctrina Christiana from the Manuscript, 2012
-John Hale, University of Otago
In a paper given to IMS 9 I surveyed how previous editors presented the text of De Doctrina to readers, so as to explain how the Oxford Complete Works edition consolidated their work and had new intentions. Now that publication is imminent, I am sketching for this most fit audience how the fresh transcribing of the MS seeks to launch more accurate or new enquiries. The scribal story is being shown today in slides; Skinner, Picard, and the nameless helpers who changed Picard’s handiwork, and whom Skinner for many pages was re-copying. On MS 210, for example, where Picard’s work is augmented by two more hands, the added material comprises not simply more biblical citations but Milton’s own voice driving his thematic point home. On 221, the handwriting-changes show Milton rethinking his basic distinction. On 304 (and 461A) the cancelled scheme of ten Parts is on show; a tantalizing peep into the work’s development, and some abandoned purpose. 308 gives the same page twice, prompting questioning this time about the re-writing Skinner’s purpose. At 552 begin four pages entirely in the hand of scribe ‘A’. 570 shows how the allusion to William Ames, , reached the MS in three or even four attempts. Without wishing in the present paper or the edition itself to insist on one interpretation of such scribal puzzles, in both we hope that transcription, and full attention to stylistic details of the Latin and other languages, can enable users to make searches of their own. The electronic version of the OUP edition does this in one way, the hard copy in another.
Property in Paradise?: The Problem of Labour in Milton and Locke
-Taihei Hanada, Takushoku University
Scholars have noted that the problem of labour plays a central role in the separation scene of Paradise Lost, Book 9, pointing especially to the ‘utilitarianism’ underwriting Eve’s proposal for a division of labour (Low, Georgic Revolution, 320). However, from Barbara Keifer Lewalski (in her influential ‘Innocence and Experience in Milton’s Eden’, 1969) to Joanna Picciotto (in the recent Labors of Innocence in Early Modern England, 2010), critics have been reluctant to take seriously the conceptual centrality of labour in Milton’s political thought. In this paper, I wish to examine Milton’s radical understanding of the human condition against the backdrop of this crucial early modern formation: the political subject dissociated from the labouring body. To recover the theologico-political dimensions of early modern labour (which has been lost from the category of labour in modern economics), I will resituate Milton’s Book 9 in the wider contemporary debates over the European right to the American land – the colonial (as well as agrarian) discourse which culminates in the famous chapter on property in the second book of Locke’s Two Treatises.
Locke declares that ‘in the beginning all the World was America’ (II. §49). Adam and Eve’s prelapsarian agriculture and its gradual subsumption under the rhetoric of colonial plantation and productivity in Milton’s Paradise Lost may be seen to reflect upon two contrasting conceptions of labour: ‘belonging’ (Amerindian) and ‘appropriation’ (European). More importantly, through the representation of Adam and Eve’s labour, the poet critically examines European claims to the evolutionary superiority of their political society over the Amerindian ‘state of nature’. Drawing on recent scholarship on the Two Treatises (James Tully and Barbara Arneil), which views the Lockean concept of labour as an ideological defense of English entitlement against Amerindian indigenous rights, I will suggest that Milton’s ‘utopian’ concept of culture and cultivation – his innocent Adam and Eve as ‘labouring sovereigns’ – provides us with an alternative version of what it means to be a free man and woman, without excessive resort to proprietorship and possessive individualism. Milton’s critical engagement with the violent origins of European positive law may anticipate a critique of the colonial legacies of Lockean liberalism and eighteenth-century Enlightenment.
Milton in China, 1837-1911
-Tianhu Hao, Peking University
In late Qing starting from 1837, both Western Christian missionaries and enlightened Chinese intellectuals contributed to the introduction of Milton to China. Lin Zexu (1785-1850) and Wei Yuan (1794-1857) took an initiative; Liang Tingnan (1796-1861) and Yang Xiangji (1825-1878) received Milton critically. Ku Hung-Ming (1857-1928) was an early Chinese reader of Milton. On the whole, however, the missionaries’ work is more detailed and more intimate than the Chinese intellectuals’, especially when the former were aided by the latter; because of familiarity with Milton’s life and writings, the missionaries could provide largely accurate introductions, apt critical remarks and even a high-quality translation. Western missionaries intentionally took advantage of Milton and Paradise Lost in order to uphold their own religious, cultural, and political interests in China. In the first decade of the twentieth century, Liang Qichao (1873-1929) and Lu Xun (1881-1936) became representative figures in the Chinese reception of Milton. Advocating a revolution in poetry, Liang Qichao criticizes the weakness of Chinese poetry in the light of Milton; aiming at a revolution in the soul, Lu Xun appropriates Milton’s Satan characteristically. As frequently happened, Japan or Japanese functioned as a medium for these two’s associations with Milton. Based on historical data, including those gleaned from missionary journals and translated histories, this essay explores, through an analysis of textual migrations between disparate cultures, how the production of cross-cultural knowledge about Milton in China is conditioned by “prejudice” (Gadamer), “selective attention” (William James), and the Chinese context. In the process of introduction and reception Milton is not only transplanted and translated, but often transformed and transwritten.
Critical Mass: The Influence of Addison on Bentley
-David A. Harper, University of Texas
The same year that Richard Bentley published his infamous 1732 edition of Paradise Lost, Jonathan Swift sharply rebuked him for presuming to “at last, be able to discover innumerable Faults and Blemishes hitherto undiscern’d” in Milton’s epic. Swift’s amazement at Bentley’s presumption and apparent lack of judgment has been shared by critics ever since. Although J.W. McKail explicitly rejected suggestions that Bentley’s Milton was “the work of a scholar in his dotage,” he judged the doctor “beyond his depth” in Paradise Lost. More recently John Hale, after examining Bentley’s marginalia in a 1720 edition of the poem, concluded that Bentley’s edition represented “neither imposture nor true editing, just a deeply-flawed ego-trip.” For 279 years, critics have tried to understand what moved Bentley, not only to attempt his edition, but to approach both poem and author with barely restrained venom.
A newly discovered second edition (1674) copy of Paradise Lost annotated by Bentley allows us to reassess the development of his stance toward the poem. This new volume indicates that, contrary to his assertions, Bentley’s edition was no hasty project, and likely commenced in the early 1720s. Furthermore, it also reveals that Bentley’s earlier approach to the poem was gentler than demonstrated by his later annotations in the 1720 edition and his final publication. In Bentley’s 1720 edition of Paradise Lost, the most striking annotations are those in which he brackets and angrily slashes through passages he deems spurious insertions by an editor taking advantage of Milton’s blindness.
In his earlier 1674 marginalia, however, Bentley employed far fewer brackets and did not slash any verses. I propose that Bentley acquired the 1720 Tonson edition after he was already actively annotating Milton, and that this deluxe folio, with its inclusion of Addison’s Spectator reviews of Paradise Lost, spurred Bentley to revisit the poem with a more hostile attitude. Addison’s analysis of Paradise Lost, where he lauds its “heroic” qualities and compares Milton to Homer, seems to have been unbearable to the venerable classicist. Bentley’s marginalia, which extends to the Spectator pages bound with the 1720 edition, supports this assertion. There are striking correlations between Bentley’s notes on these pages and his most acerbic annotations in the 1720 text and his published edition.
While critics have long acknowledged Bentley’s debt to Addison for the impetus to completely rewrite the final lines of the poem, few if any seem to have recognized that Bentley uses Addison as a foil throughout his notes. This paper will demonstrate Addison’s hitherto unacknowledged influence on Bentley’s 1732 edition, a presence starkly more evident when viewed against Bentley’s earlier, gentler, annotations in his 1674 edition.
To Read Milton's Work Through Japanese Sensibility
-Rie Hase, Tohoku University, Tokyo
I will take up the matter of 'experience' in Milton's work through Japanese sensibility. It naturally reflects the historical and cultural context. In Japanese cultural undercurrent, there are three main currents, Shinto (神道), Buddhism and Confucianism. We can find the trace of them in Japanese words and phrases. As an equivalent to English 'experience', Japanese has two types, keiken (経験) and taiken (体験). The former corresponds to the knowledge and skill that someone has gained through doing something for a period, while the latter to the things that have happened to someone that influence the way he or she thinks and behaves. Therefore keiken emphasizes knowledge and skill in the process of growth; taiken, emphasizes effect and transformation. When we read the following quotation from Paradise Lost, "Till warn'd, or by experience taught she learn" (VIII, 190), how should we understand Milton's message, standing in foront of a new gate of civilization?
The Reception of Samson Agonistes in Coleridge
-Takehiro Hashimoto, Kanto Gakuin University
Milton is known for greatly influencing Romantic poets with his patriotism, republicanism, and his characterization of Satan. Samuel Taylor Coleridge was no exception, but his admiration for Milton was different. This paper will trace Coleridge’s ‘symbiotic’ reception of Milton. Coleridge is regarded as having a tendency of composing poems symbiotically with other poets, and also having a tendency of responding to the author’s work he was reading. I think it is possible for Coleridge to have a symbiotic conversation with Milton as if Milton were present, and for Coleridge to write with the “help” of Milton. In other words, Coleridge was in dialogue with Milton. First I will examine Coleridge's such prose works as Biographia Literaria and Marginalia and show how Coleridge responded to Milton and internalized Milton's poems. Coleridge regarded Milton's poems as an example of the ideal romantic imagination and read them to interpret Milton's internal logic. I will then compare Milton’s Samson Agonistes and Coleridge's dramatic work, Remorse. Several lines and imagery in Remorse (e.g. the fall of a wall and images of thronging insects) will be traced to Samson Agonistes. However, this Miltonic echo is not a traditional influence, nor the anxiety of influence, nor an intertextual influence. It is an example of Coleridge in 'symbiotic' or collaborative creation with Milton. Coleridge dissolved and internalized Milton's poems, and recreated and united them to form one whole work of Romantic imagination. This is the way I think Coleridge internalized and worked through Milton. Thus, Milton's is not just a major influence on Coleridge; Milton is a participant in Coleridge’s Romantic imagination. Milton’s Samson Agonistes was internalized into Coleridge’s Remorse as a result of a poetic dialogue.
Usury and Custom in Milton's Thought'
-David Hawkes, Arizona State University
According to Aristotelian and Scholastic logic, money constitutes a “second nature:” a sphere of man-made values and significances that is imposed upon, and sometimes threatens to replace, the divinely-created order of nature. The moral opposition between the areas of 'phusis' (nature) and 'nomos' (custom) has long been recognized as important to Milton's work, and his denunciations of the dangers involved in idolizing custom are famous. What has less often been noticed, however, is Milton's specific association of “custom” with money. Yet it is this connection that informs the logic of Mammon's ambition to create an infernal civilization “in emulation opposite to heav'n,” and of Comus's reference to the Lady's beauty as “Nature's coin.” This paper argues that Milton's lifelong practice and intimate knowledge of usury, which have been neglected by modern critics, help to explain his theory of “custom” as systematic false consciousness.
Milton and Music
-Seth Herbst, Harvard University
The importance of music in Milton’s poetic imagination has not yet been fully appreciated. It is recognized that music appears in Milton’s major poems, but I argue further that Milton develops a theoretical model of music in his early lyrics that he then consistently deploys throughout his later works. In Milton’s model, music is simultaneously represented as a sensuous acoustic phenomenon and as a metaphor for creaturely relationship with God. This model, which to my knowledge has not previously been identified, both distinguishes Milton from his poetic contemporaries and offers new insight into Milton’s distinctive stance on the interface between aesthetics and morality. In my paper, I begin by elucidating Milton’s model of music through a reading of “At a Solemn Music,” the first lyric in which the model is fully realized. Next, I proceed to show how Milton develops his model in Comus, Paradise Lost, and, most radically, Samson Agonistes. Finally, I consider the surprising possibility that Milton’s poetic accounts of music reveal an earlier development of his monist-materialism than has previously been suggested. By opening Milton to the mode of interdisciplinary musico-literary studies, I hope to show not only that Milton found in music a crucial means of reconciling sensuous beauty with Christian duty, but also that Milton was an innovative musical theorist in his own right.
The Law’s Violence in Paradise Lost
-Sarah Higinbotham, Georgia State University
Milton lived during what historians call “the bloodiest period of English criminal law,” when the law enacted extreme forms of violence on people: dismembering, branding, maiming, blinding, castrating, hanging, decapitating, burning, whipping, disemboweling, drawing, quartering, and impaling those who violated the king’s or queen’s peace. Even nonviolent property crimes were punished with rigid capital sentences. Walter Benjamin observes that “in this very violence, something rotten in the law is revealed.” Yet, as recent scholarship seeks to analyze the sociology of the early modern penal code, we are finding that the participatory legal field did not vent the law’s violence as often as the black letter law deemed.Instead, the judges, juries, and magistrates creatively attenuated determinate sentences with flexible practices, offering benefit of clergy, benefit of the womb (also called “pleading the belly”), sanctuary, pardons, and jury clemency to mitigate the law’s violence. Paradise Lost enacts the same dynamic relationship between retributive and restorative justice. In this paper, I am reading Paradise Lost in dialogue with legally operative documents, and exploring the ways that Milton’s God recognizes and even facilitates restorative justice as an alternative to the law’s violence. The poem narrates how talionic justice, “the rigid satisfaction, death for death,” can work together with legal realism – much as the two forms of legal reasoning were concurrently practiced in the early modern period.
Dread in Paradise Lost
-Ken Hiltner, University of California, Santa Barbara
Both Michael Lieb’s Poetics of the Holy and John Tanner’s Anxiety in Eden begin, literally on their first pages, with discussions of dread. Lieb, following theologian Rudolph Otto, introduces “religious dread” as “the effect that the holy has on the human mind,” while Tanner explores angst (“alternately translated as ‘anxiety’ or ‘dread’”) by way of Kierkegaard. In these two respective senses, poetics of the holy are understood as being manifestations of dread, while anxiety in Eden is just an alternate translation for dread in Eden. With two works on Milton taking such similar themes, one might expect a significant amount of shared material, yet each author remains silent on the work of the other: While Tanner must certainly have been aware of Lieb’s influential 1981 work, no mention of it appears in his 1992 Anxiety in Eden. And although Lieb notes (briefly, in a 1996 article entitled “Our Living Dread”) that, in at least one sense, Otto’s account of dread coincided with Kierkegaard’s, he otherwise has little to say on the matter.
As Lieb and Tanner have considered the concept of dread so extensively, the purpose of the first part of this paper is to briefly consider how the subject of dread is related in their respective works. The greater issue, however, is the question of dread in Milton. By putting the notion of dread into a larger context, which takes into account existentialists and postmodern thinkers such as Martin Heidegger and Jacques Derrida, my intent is to take the work of Lieb and Tanner as a point of departure in order to pursue an understanding of dread in Paradise Lost.
Milton in Arabic: Transforming Paradise Lost for the Arab-Muslim Reader
-Islam Issa, University of Birmingham
As recent world events have pushed relations between Islamic and non-Islamic cultures to the top of the global political agenda, it has become increasingly important to look beyond the English-speaking world to evaluate the full extent of the cultural reach and influence of English literature. To that end, this paper analyses the ways in which John Milton’s Paradise Lost is read in translation by twenty-first-century Arab-Muslim readers. The paper analyses how different grammatical, syntactical, and stylistic aspects of the translation are likely to affect, and often intensify, an Arab-Muslim reader’s response to the language and meaning of the poem.
This is the first paper to note and discuss the translation of the entire poem into Arabic (rather than just the translation of Books 1 and 2). The paper shows, initially, how the translation of Paradise Lost provides a serious challenge to mainstream Arab-Islamic notions of religious orthodoxy, before examining in more detail the response of contemporary Sunni Muslim readers to the Arabic translation of the poem. For example, certain cultural and religious emphases of the text are changed as a result both of the varying accuracy of the translation, and of the translator’s construction of a specific Arab-Muslim target reader. The paper explores how philological aspects of the translation, such as verbal substitution, the use of Qur’anic terminology, and the translator’s annotational method, affect the reader’s experience of the poem, including the enhancement and distortion of particular themes, shifts in semantic emphases, and the emergence of Qur’anic intertextualities. Through these philological analyses, I hope to show that the cultural and theological dimensions of the linguistic translation of Paradise Lost significantly shape and colour the Arab-Muslim reader’s understanding of the poem. An intriguing picture of Paradise Lost emerges from my study: that is, of a biblical English epic poem that, in some ways at least, may be more meaningful in its translated form to modern Muslim readers than in its original language to secularised Christian English readers.
John Milton and the Hearth Tax: New Records and New Possibilities
-Edward Jones, Oklahoma State University
During his life, Milton was assessed 26 times for the Hearth Tax, which was instituted on Lady Day 1662 and continued uninterrupted until its abolishment in 1688. Through 2009, Milton scholars had recovered but two records concerning Milton and this tax, an arrears document concerning his residency in the parish of St Giles Cripplegate before his third marriage (E 179/147/630), and another for the last assessments during his life for Michaelmas 1674 and Lady Day 1675 (E 179/143/370). Seven recently discovered manuscript records from the National Archives and the London Metropolitan Archives can now be added to this total. Altogether these documents not only fill an evidentiary gap for the last decade of Milton’s life but also provide a hitherto unexplored vantage point from which to evaluate him as a parishioner. These documents have successfully eluded scholars for several reasons (not the least being Milton’s change of residence), and a review of how the records were prepared and filed will reveal why archival discoveries, if not accidental, more often follow in the wake of an understanding of the archival environment which contains them.
Milton's Ideal Place in Arcades, Epitaphium Damonis and the Garden of Eden
-Yae Kanasaki, Kinki University
Milton tries to make his own ideal place in his early pastorals though it is said that his early works are much influenced by Greek pastorals. In Arcades (1632?), the only work in which Milton uses the word related to Arcadia in his title, Milton begins to create his own ideal world, which differs from traditional Arcadia.
The definition of “Arcadia” is vague but critics agree on the point that Arcadia is a nowhere place made of ideal landscape which exists “half-way between a past perfection and a present imperfection” (Marinelli 37). Poets long for the lost ideal place. In L’Allegro (1631?), Milton longs to live and stay in the traditional rural landscape without change. On the contrary, in Arcades, the shepherds abandon the old land and move to a new Arcadia governed by glorious queen. Though the landscape of new land is similar to one in L’Allegro, the shepherds neither look back on the past nor stay in the present world.
After writing Arcades, Milton begins to leave the past ideal place and move to a new ideal world. In Lycidas (1637), the shepherd departs from the old Arcadia to a new pasture in the end. In Epitaphium Damonis (1639), the pasture described as Milton’s new ideal world is not the imaginary Arcadian world without change but the real world cultivated by human beings with seasonal change.
Milton’s new ideal world is connected to the Garden of Eden. Milton adds the “gate” to The Garden of Eden, which doesn’t exist in the original description of the Old Testament. Though after the fall, Adam and Eve have to go out through the gate, Milton seems to describe the gate as humanity’s hopes for future.
Is "a Spirit" Incorporeal or Corporeal?: The Materiality of God in Paradise Lost
-Kazunori Kawasaki, Nihon University
In this paper, I intend to argue about the problem concerning the materiality of God in Paradise Lost in terms of Milton’s monistic view of the creation and his understanding of the theory of accommodation. Angels as spiritual beings have a feature of corporeality as manifested in Raphael’s explanation of the celestial war in Paradise Lost. Milton’s material angels have raised the question of whether intellectual spirits are incorporeal or corporeal. This question inevitably relates to the ontological composition.
Milton denies the world was created out of nothing (creatio ex nihilo). He rather maintains that, as all beings are consisted of the same original substance, which derives from the substance of God (creatio ex Deo), “God produced all things … out of himself” (CPW 6:310). Recent critics as Stephen M. Fallon and John Rogers argue that Milton embraces the monistic view of creation out of “one first matter.” It is true that Milton’s description of the incorporeality and corporeality of angels in Paradise Lost convincingly demonstrates his monistic ontological view. However, it still remains unclear whether Milton’s God is a metaphysical being in a monist universe in Paradise Lost.
Although it is argued that God is “a SPIRIT” (CPW 6:140), it doesn’t imply that “a SPIRIT” is immaterial, in terms of the monistic creation out of “one first matter.” Furthermore, Milton’s descriptions of God in Paradise Lost rather represent the passibility of God, namely the materiality of God. Rejecting employing anthropopathy as a rhetorical figure which Milton believes ascribes human feelings to God, Milton describes the passibility of God in Paradise Lost. He construes the passibility of God as God’s self-revelation, but poetical representations of God are nothing but in a rhetorical figure. In this paper, I would also like to argue about how Milton’s theology and poetry represent the materiality of God.
Is Milton a Pacifist?
-Nobuhiro Kawashima, Ryukoku University
It is ironic that during the Second World War when censorship was tightened (indirectly in England and strictly in Japan), Milton’s Areopagitica attained its three hundredth anniversary. My aim in this paper is to examine and compare the wartime “uses” of Milton made by E. M. Forster and Tadao Yanaibara.
E. M. Forster gave a Home-Service talk on “A Tercentenary of Freedom” (revised later as “The Tercentenary of the Areopagitica”) and, emphasizing the significance of Milton, concluded that there was not enough freedom of expression in England. At the talk, Forster raises an interesting question in phrases reminiscent of Wordsworth’s sonnet: “Milton, would’st thou be living at this hour?” Surmising Milton would not like the indirect censorship in wartime England, Forster argues that Milton would like “this hour” since he “would certainly be heart and soul with us in our fight against Germany and Japan, for they stand for that he most detested”.
On the other hand, in wartime Japan, Tadao Yanaibara, a Christian scholar who had been expelled from the University of Tokyo because of his pacifist discourse, gave “underground” lectures on Paradise Lost, evading the strict censorship. At the first lecture on Milton, Yanaibara prays to God, also using Wordsworth’s phrases: “The world today hath need of Thy Milton. She is a fen of stagnant water”. Furthermore, through the following lectures, he makes some criticisms of the war in disguise as commentaries on the epic’s passages. For example, he criticizes the wartime lecherous behaviors of Japanese soldiers in the commentary on “the Sons / Of Belial”. The stark contrast between Foster’s patriotic and Yanaibara’s pacifistic use of Milton invites us to think about a serious question: “Is Milton a pacifist or not?
Placing the Presbyter: Milton and Marvell
-Margaret Kean, University of Oxford
This paper examines the influence of Milton upon Andrew Marvell’s Restoration satires. It will identify the range of Milton’s work known to Marvell and consider whether Marvell had access to unpublished materials. Our understanding of Marvell as a reader of Milton is both enhanced and extended by the suggestion made here that the poet Marvell may have been particularly alert to Milton’s use of rhyme in the political sonnets. The paper will focus attention on Marvell’s Restoration poem The Loyal Scot, identifying a significant interplay between that satire and Milton’s sonnet from the later 1640s, ‘On the New Forcers of Conscience under the Long Parliament’.
The obvious 1640s text employed within Marvell’s Restoration satire is John Cleveland’s The Rebel Scot but Marvell may aim to do more than ventriloquise Cleveland. A close reading of Marvell against Milton reveals a number of prosodic and polemic connections and it will be argued that embedded in the final lines of The Loyal Scot is a private nod of acknowledgement made by Marvell to Milton’s skill.
Milton’s Contra-pair Sonnets: "To the Lord General Cromwell" and "To Sir Henry Vane the Younger"
--Nanami Kobayashi, Doshisha University
The pivotal theme of the liberty of conscience and the sense of the occasional crisis are the same in the two. The compositional attitude is, however, entirely different toward the addressees. It is why both of the sonnets constitute themselves as contra and a pair.
The poems’ theme and sense of crisis stand on one matter of the easy and quick decisions of the Propagation of the Gospel Committee initiated and directed by John Owen, Cromwell’s chaplain. Cromwell was the most influential member. They aimed for establishing the Independent National Church and maintaining the tithe to follow the Episcopalian and Presbyterian Churches. Vane was among a few of proponents of the separation of church and state. The proposals were submitted to Parliament during his long absence from London for negotiations with Scotland. After a week of the Committee setting, Parliament resolved that the magistrate should have power in religious things. Now the matter has proved Lord General’s ambition of One Man’s rule over the nation. He is right opposite to Milton’s lifelong principle of free conscience. Milton has found Vane his most reliable friend to go with him.
The Cromwell sonnet is presented in an encomium style. It is the conventional writing way to any superior. Milton dares to take an advantage of it because it carries with it his despairing warning and indictment of Cromwell’s feigned faithfulness and ambition of dictatorship. The Vane sonnet is a straightforward expression of friendship and admiration. The two sonnets are quite different from each other in style in spite of dealing with the same theme of the same matter. They are so intertextually related that they may help a reader to understand the other.
“For change delectable”: Mutability and change in Milton’s Paradise Lost
-Larisa Kocic-Zambo, University of Szeged, Hungary
Significant part of Milton scholarship has in the last two decades criticized the strong tendency in Milton studies to resist textual indeterminacy and differences. Ambiguity, indeterminacy, incertitude, ambivalence have become the keywords penetrating Milton scholarship of today. Perhaps for the same reason, Satan - an ambidextrous character par excellence - is resurfacing again as the Romantic hero of Milton’s epic. And yet, it is not the protean Satan who evokes the Romantics’ admiration, but rather Satan, the constant rebel adamant in his refusal of change (PL 1.94-96). Hence, my paper examines the notion of mutability and change as displayed both by angels and devils, suggesting that Milton shared the “transformist sensibility” (Jeannneret) of the Renaissance, i.e. ascribing positive value to change (“grateful vicissitude”, “change delectable”), celebrating the alteration of things and the flux of contingencies as a promise of renewal without denying that they are symptoms of sin, stigmata of mortality. Hence, my aim is to postulate Milton’s angels as his true protean figures, however, not in a negative sense, but as oracles of truth, by expounding on a significant albeit neglected aspect of “old Proteus.”
"The Clouded Ruins of a God" or: Why Milton's Satan Became a Romantic Hero
-Evan LaBuzetta, Independent Scholar
This paper will argue that Milton’s Satan in Paradise Lost is the complement to a radically distinctive God. This is not meant to revisit the “bad Satan” or “good Satan” camps of past criticism. Rather it will demonstrate that Milton’s Satan is the natural consequence of Milton’s concept of God, a conception whose transcendence could not be depicted poetically. Furthermore, the paper will discuss how one consequence of this interdependence between God and Satan is the still-influential ‘Romantic’ school of thought in which Satan’s behavior is alluring and even admirable.
The argument draws on my recent research about the role that Satan played in many types of 17th-century English writing, in which the “satanic” category was applied so liberally to all sides of contemporary debates that it lost any stable meaning. Into this environment, Milton launched his Paradise Lost, which features a Satan of unprecedented psychological complexity and emotional power. Milton’s depiction of Satan repeatedly references the Angel of Light, a motif common in 1650s and 1660s pamphlets, in which the disguised demon cannot be detected, except through divinely-inspired perception. This motif shifts the responsibility for moral judgment onto the individual, and taken in combination with the psychologically familiar Satan, the reader inevitably feels sympathetic when Satan asserts his own moral vision and acts accordingly. The poem allows – even encourages – this kind of identification, because of the absence of the transcendent.
The poetic characters Satan and God are presented on equal terms: both missing the transcendence that Milton believes is unique to God. To many readers, Milton’s Satan seems to get the better of Milton’s God because by any rational, emotional or psychological measure, he does do so – God’s superiority is a matter of belief, not logic. If that belief is missing, then Satan must emerge as the dominant figure.
Milton and McTaggart: Time Structures of the Mind in Paradise Lost
-Ayelet Langer, University of London
The question of time in Paradise Lost comes into sharp focus when we reach the first descriptions of Paradisian life in Book 4. There, in lines 5-6, Milton strikingly announces that time now [is]: “now,/ While time was, our first parents had been warned / The coming of their secret foe.” If, one may ask, time indeed begins now, what should we call the chronology of events that unfolded in Books 1-3? And if time does exist prior to Book 4, why does the poem find it necessary to declare that time now exists?
In this paper I propose that the adverb now (4.5) defines a boundary between two different kinds of duration, non-temporal and temporal, which represent the time structure of the post-lapsarian and pre-lapsarian mind, respectively. This implies that in Paradise Lost time is not represented as an objective phenomenon that exists independently of the mind. Rather, it is a conceptual structure or form that reflects, facilitates, or perhaps even enables the capacity for freedom and moral choice. To demonstrate the difference between these two mindsets I make use of the distinction between the A-series and the B-series of time that was suggested by the twentieth century philosopher J. M. E. McTaggart. I will show that it is only an A-structured mind that is capable of a free act of repentance. Satan, who is trapped within the fixity of his B-structured mind, is incapable of achieving an act of repentance and, consequently, doomed to be “forever fallen.” My paper will attempt to show that in Paradise Lost time is a significant form that is represented in its own right in the manner of Christian humanism, rather than a phenomenon that could only be understood sub specie aeternitatis.
Lexical Choice in John Milton's Artis Logicae Plenior Institutio (1672)
-Jameela Lares, The University of Southern Mississippi
I am preparing lightly annotated Latin-English edition of John Milton’s Artis Logicae Plenior Institutio (1672) for the forthcoming Oxford edition of the complete works of Milton. This text, the last English recension of the Dialectique of Pierre de la Ramée or Petrus Ramus (1511-72), is of course heavily rhetorical, as Ramus divided the traditional five parts of rhetoric between logic and rhetoric. As I noted in our 2008 congress, it has been a mere three decades since the Yale Prose edition of Milton’s Logic, prepared by Walter J. Ong and Charles Ermatinger, but those translators are no longer available to update the work. The primary translator Charles Ermatinger died in 2002, and Walter Ong, who translated the Preface and wrote the Introduction, died in 2003. In the meantime, as Ong himself would probably note, there has been considerable scholarship done on Ramus by such scholars as Joseph S. Freedman, Lawrence D. Green, Peter Mack, Kees Meerhoff, and Peter Sharratt, all of which scholarship may well challenge the choice of terminology in the Yale translation, since that Yale translation depended for its word choice on the then-current understanding of the relation between dialectic and rhetoric. In my paper for this conference, I will report my findings on any such changed terminology. I also hope to have more to say about Milton’s own understanding of rhetoric, as distinct from that of Ramus.
A Study of Typology in Milton's "Nativity Ode"
-Byung-Eun Lee, Hansung University, Seoul
A number of critics have noted the role typology plays in the “Nativity Ode” but have not observed in detail the connection between Milton's handling of time in the poem and the types they identify. Though the casual use of typology indicates a lapse of time between the appearance of the type and its fulfillment in the antitype, some Scriptural formulations of typology suggest that the antitype exists at the same time as the type. For example, Christ is not only the antitype or fulfillment of the old covenant, He is also the type, "an high priest of good things to come," of man's salvation by virtue of His own death. Old Testament events also function as both shadows of heavenly things and foreshadows of events which occur later even than events and persons in the New Testament in the history of man's salvation, and it is this use of typology which necessitated the mixing of tenses or the negation of time in the poem.
By way of preparing his reader for this use of types and antitypes in the "Hymn," as an example, Milton introduces in stanza ii of the proem the idea of the pre-Nativity Christ as a "glorious Form" who willingly came to earth as a shadow of His former heavenly essence, forsaking "the Courts of everlasting Day" and choosing instead "a darksome House of mortal Clay" which both imperfectly imitates His previously "glorious Form" and types His ultimate reclaiming of that "Form" when He completes the task of working mankind "a perpetual peace."
Milton uses types like the sun, the Creation, the Nativity, and the waters in the Ode. For example, if Milton treats the Creation as a type of the Nativity, he also treats it and the Nativity as types of the Last Judgement. Milton makes this idea an explicit part of the Ode by expanding on the notion of the sea as a type of Hell in his reference to the Nativity as the beginning of the Last Judgement. In stanza 18 Milton, drawing on the account in Revelation 20 depicting the binding the Dragon, images Satan as an aspect of the sea he had introduced in stanzas 5 and 12 by describing him as a sea-monster.
By linking all of the types to the dominant type of the poem, light, Milton forces all the types into a dual role; on the one hand they image or represent vertically the eternal divine plan for man's redemption, and on the other they prophesy horizontally future events in the history of that redemption. Thus in order to set forth his theme of the eternal nature of Christ's gift to man, Milton had to establish poetically a timeless world in which biblical types both image an eternal plan and adumbrate a temporal enaction of that plan.
Milton, Polygamy, and the Orient
-Walter Swee Huat Lim, National University of Singapore
John Milton is well known for his views on divorce, views that in his day generated great controversy and much consternation. Informed by his own especially rocky marriage to Mary Powell, Milton’s divorce tracts have been read and analyzed for the ways in which directly experienced marital woes became entangled with the injunctions of scripture pertaining to the protocols of marriage and divorce. If the divorce tracts constitute the logical place to which the critic turns for an assessment of Milton’s views on the sacred institution of marriage gone awry, De Doctrina Christiana offers a succinct summary of these views. But more than an explication of the reason and logic of divorce, the chapter, “Of the special government of man before the fall: dealing also with the Sabbath and marriage,” in De Doctrina proposes an even more provocative and controversial perspective on polygamy, a practice Milton finds to be clearly affirmed by and concretely grounded in scripture. Milton’s argument that polygamy is sanctioned by holy writ brings us into the domain of scriptural interpretation. Since important figures of Old Testament history had many wives, this practice must therefore have been sanctioned by God. Analyzing Milton’s reading of polygamy brings us into the tangled relationship between the letter and spirit of the law in the divorce tracts, the definition of idolatry and fornication, and the political meanings and cultural implications of miscegenation. But more than these, writing on polygamy in the early modern period also evokes for the reader the context of the Islamic Orient popularly known for the ability of a man to marry more than one woman. In the early modern period, polygamy functions as a palpable sign of the East’s differentiation and exclusion from the West’s defining codes of cultural civility. In this paper I propose to read Milton’s views of polygamy expressed in De Doctrina Christiana with reference to early modern writings that trace the practice of polygamy to the infidel ethos of the decadent, degenerate, and theologically unredeemed East.
Milton's Garden and the Language of Georgic
-Seth Lobis, Claremont McKenna College
In her recent study of Milton’s language, Annabel Patterson writes, “Understanding Milton’s words is, and should remain, a work in progress.” This paper aims to contribute to that work in progress by taking as its subject the word “tend” in Paradise Lost. In book 9 Milton establishes “tend” as a keyword, I would like to suggest, as part of a larger engagement with the georgic mode. Anthony Low has argued that in Paradise Lost Milton “points the contrast between creating and destroying, georgic labor and military prowess.” I would like to argue in a similar vein that Milton uses the word “tend” to reinforce a contrast between an ethic of care and stewardship, associated primarily with Adam and Eve, and its antithesis, associated with Satan.
Relative to a number of his contemporaries, Milton put positive emphasis on labor before the Fall. In a characteristic instance of amplificatio, Milton expands Genesis 2:15 (“And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it”) with Eve’s phrase “still to dress / This garden, still to tend plant, herb and flower” (9.205-206), followed by the sequence of verbs “Lop overgrown, or prune, or prop, or bind” (210). Milton’s interest in “tend” here and elsewhere in the poem reflects his view that prelapsarian labor signifies not only delight and devotion, but also concern and responsibility; just as God takes care of Adam and Eve, so they are meant to take care of the garden.
It is this ideal of solicitous labor, both tending and attending, that Satan defies and attempts to pervert. Preparing for the temptation of Eve, Satan ponders, as he puts it, “The way which to her ruin now I tend” (9.493). Here Milton Englishes the Latin tendere cursum and through this lexemic shift strengthens the contrast between Adam and Eve’s constructive tendance and Satan’s destructive tendency.
Religious Schism, Separation, and Uniformity in Paradise Lost
-David Loewenstein, University of Wisconsin-Madison
During the Restoration, the relation between sinful and justified separation was a source of great contention. In this paper, I argue that Paradise Lost vividly re-imagines this contentious issue on a mythic scale. Schism continued to be regarded as a heinous sin and the blackest of crimes linked with sedition during the Restoration: the unjustifiable separation from a true church. Dissenters were repeatedly stained during the Restoration with the accusation of the sin of schism, including its association with error and sedition. Yet Paradise Lost complicates these contemporary associations and accusations: it is Satan who generates the first and most consequential of religious schisms, not the sole fiery dissenter (Abdiel) who asserts himself during the outbreak of revolt and separates himself from the apostate angels. Indeed, interpreting expressions of religious "dissentions" in the poem requires discernment: when can dissentions in religion be condoned and when should they, and the provocative language of their proponents, be viewed skeptically? For example, from one perspective, Mammon, during the debate in Hell, sounds much more like a zealous Restoration nonconformist who resents the imposition of newly commanded worship and the regulation of religion: God, Mammon predicts, will impose his own Act of Uniformity (newly passed in 1662) upon all the angels who have rebelled. The poem's mythic retelling of the great schism between Satan and God thus prompts its readers to scrutinize and reassess this contentious and divisive Restoration religious issue: the relation between schism as a great sin and warranted religious separation.
"How Human Life Began": Human Reproduction in Paradise Lost
-Thomas Luxon, Dartmouth College
What does Milton’s commitment to a monistic theory of the cosmos and its creation mean for sex? Jonathan Goldberg’s recent book, The Seeds of Things: Theorizing Sexuality and Materiality in Renaissance Representations (Fordham 2009) issues a strong wake-up call to Miltonists who have recently been working hard to reconcile Milton’s theories of marriage and sexuality with his apparent commitment to Lucretian atomism and monism. Catherine Gimelli-Martin’s efforts to understand Milton’s use of personification allegory in the light of his materialist monism has given rise to renewed interest in how Milton understood, embraced, or reacted to Lucretian atomism (Norbrook, Quint, and others). And now Goldberg challenges us to recognize the important instances in Milton’s work where the Platonic “ladder of love” takes aim towards a teleology of an eternity of erotic sameness. Goldberg concentrates his attention on how critics have read and misread “angel love” in Paradise Lost, but we should also attend to other important instances: the “immortal nuptials” and “Festa Sionæo bacchantur & Orgia Thyrso” of “Epitaphium damonis,” “unexpressive nuptiall Song,/ In the blest Kingdoms meek of joy and love” of Lycidas, and a stronger appreciation of Adam and Eve themselves as actually an attenuated kind of same-sex couple. Milton reminds us frequently, after all, that Eve is literally the “daughter” of God and man. This implies a “conversation” between God and man of sufficiently erotic physicality to produce real offspring—Eve. What kind of conversation can a man have with God, and how does Milton want us to imagine Eve’s resultant birth from Adam’s body during twilight sleep? Eve is Adam’s daughter, but also his sister, his proper partner in conversation. Does this mean God was an improper partner, too much for Adam’s “earthly ___________?
Hee ended, or I heard no more, for now
My earthly by his Heav'nly overpowerd,
Which it had long stood under, streind to the highth
In that celestial Colloquie sublime, [ 455 ]
As with an object that excels the sense,
Dazl'd and spent, sunk down, and sought repair
Of sleep. (PL 8.452-57)
And what about Raphael, sent by God to “converse” “as “friend with friend” with Adam and for whom Adam feels such a strong erotic attraction that “While I sit with thee, I seem in Heav'n” and whose words “bring to thir sweetness no satietie.” (8.210, 216)? In Single Imperfection (2005), I argued that Milton re-imagined marriage on the model of homoerotic classical friendship, but Goldberg correctly upbraids me with ignoring the physical erotics of same-sex engagements as represented in PL and elsewhere in Milton’s work. I now want to argue that Adam and Eve’s sex, both before and after sin, is meant to be understood as part of a continuum of erotic conversation whose highest form of expression is located in the infinite future of the return of everything to the “one first matter” from which all once came (PL 5. 472).
The Baroque Body and Milton's Lady
-Talya Meyers, Stanford University
The Baroque is simultaneously the most natural and the most artificial of modes. It is a turn to corporeality, to specific and highly realized spaces, landscapes, and bodies, and yet a highly cerebral, refined, and utterly diffuse discourse of metonymy, allegory, and perspectival distortion that refuses to be grounded in anything occurring in the material world. But, as this essay aims to demonstrate, these two positions are not simply compatible elements of the Baroque, but are both necessary to an understanding thereof: the play between the corporeal as a site of meaning and the allegorical that forces the corporeal to bear another, entirely externalized meaning is itself a Baroque impulse. This essay illustrates this impulse through a remarkable example from a text not generally considered to be Baroque: Milton's Masque at Ludlow Castle, whose Lady serves, I will argue, as the example par excellence of the late Baroque's attitude toward the physical and its relationship to the cerebral. Under threat from Comus’ machinations, the Lady’s body comes to “mean” chastity for her brothers and her audience; to Comus, it is a site of potential, untapped pleasure. But on the other hand, the Lady’s body is always a specific corporeal presence: that of the fifteen-year-old Lady Alice Egerton, who always, regardless of the allegorical quality of the text itself, is a virginal physical body displayed onstage. Allegorical discourse, as I shall show, attempts to script the Lady’s body throughout the text, to make it “mean” something on a series of symbolic levels that are proven, finally, to be reliant upon her corporeal, virginal body—to be scripted by it rather than scripting it. An embodiment of nothing so much as the new Baroque faith in the physical world, the Lady's body, finally, means and is itself.
Fame and Exile: Ovid's Tristia in Milton's Poems
-Michiko Mori, Otemae University
Many scholars have researched Milton and Ovid’s Metamorphoses, but few seem interested in finding traces of Tristia in Milton’s thoughts. In this paper, I argue that Tristia’s contents not only attracted the early Milton, but also significantly influenced his later poems: Samson Agonistes and Paradise Regained.
Tristia was used as a third form textbook at St. Paul’s School. Ovid composed the poem while in exile from Rome in Tomis, when he was overcome by nostalgia, anguish, remorse, and was entreating the Emperor for mercy. Although its contents may have been uninteresting to schoolboys, it served well as exemplary Latin poetry. Milton reminisces in An Apology that he found it “most easie” to imitate and “most agreeable to natures part in” him.
In Elegia Prima, the seventeen-year old Milton compares his rustication from Cambridge with Ovid’s exile, and chaffs at Ovid’s nostalgic grieving. He also gleefully alludes to Ovid’s grief in his Elegia Sexta,
It wasn’t until Milton was totally blind that he came to fully appreciate Ovid’s feelings and writings about his exile. Tristia consists of two main themes. One theme is his acute remorse: unceasing repentance for his error that caused the exile; grief over unendurable conditions; and his plea to the Emperor. The other is his warning to friends: the fickleness of popular praise; the worthlessness of fame. Ovid recommends leading a hidden, private or even obscure life, and achieving fame in secret or in silence. The first theme is found in Samson Agonistes, as reflected in Samson’s remorse for fault, grief over blindness, and his pleas to God; the second is found in Paradise Regained, in Christ and Satan’s debate about fame, and in the repeated use of the word, “private.” Indeed, this study may shed some light on the dating of Samson Agonistes.
"He also saw rich Mexico": Translating Milton's Political Prose in(to) the Seat of Montezuma
-Mario Murgia, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico
Milton has been aptly translated into Spanish on a number of occasions. The task has been traditionally undertaken by Spaniards who pursue either the correctness of a typically Spanish idiom or the assumed propriety of modern syntax and punctuation. While Spain seems to be keen on translating Milton even since the 19th century, Latin America has largely neglected the work of the English poet and revolutionary. Even if there are a few exceptions to this “rule” (for example, an anonymous 1978 translation of Paradise Lost published in Mexico), Milton’s verse is seldom read and rarely studied in the Americas. His prose works have also failed to escape that fate in this part of the world—the only Spanish version of Areopagitica available in Mexico dates back to the 1940’s, while The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates was translated only in 2009 and, once again, in Spain. It would seem that Mexico, a country founded on revolutionary ideas fairly akin to those of Milton, is not fully aware of the poet’s revolutionary thinking. In an attempt to introduce Milton’s prose to the Mexican reading public, the National Autonomous University of Mexico has recently published a new translation of Areopagitica and is planning to launch its own version of The Tenure…. Coincidentally, the latter will appear amidst the celebrations of the 200th anniversary of Latin America’s independence from Spanish rule. In view of this, how does Miltonic political prose translate into the Mexican and Latin American world picture? In this paper, and as the translator of both tracts, I will try to answer this and other questions regarding the extrapolation of Milton’s discourse to the experience of political—and revolutionary—literature in Mexico.
Is Milton's Eden Truly a "Natural" Garden? --From the Viewpoint of the Japanese Concept of Shizen
-Osamu Nakayama, Reitaku University
The purpose of my paper is to analyze Milton’s description of the natural garden in Eden and his concept of nature by means of a comparison between the Japanese ‘natural‘ garden and the concept of shizen (‘nature’ in Japanese). Looking at Milton’s Eden from the viewpoint of European garden design, Western readers will agree with Helen Gardner, when she mentions that his Eden is “the new concept of the garden as nature in miniature”. Some Japanese readers, however, may not wholly agree with her, wondering if Milton’s Eden is really “the garden as nature in miniature”. Why might they feel so?
One reason is that Milton’s garden is not ‘real’, but rather a domain which is at once symbolic and divine, and sometimes artificial and secular. Some of the materials which Milton uses for the depiction of his natural garden are not natural but artificial. In Paradise Lost, for example, even his description of a seemingly ‘naturalistic’ landscape in Book IV (223-230) , it seems to me, is fairly ‘artificial’ in the sense that the capillary force of water through the “porous Earth” could not possibly be sufficient to produce the fountains and rills described there. Here Milton introduces an ‘unnatural’ system of hydromechanics in such a ‘dual’ setting—as both a natural landscape and a ‘garden’ with God as the ‘planter’.
Another reason is that the Japanese concept of nature is fundamentally different from the Western one. If we compare Milton’s ‘natural garden’ with Japanese natural gardens, we will bring more clearly into relief not only his concept of the natural garden but also the differences between Milton’s concept of nature—which is based on the Greek idea of physis and the Christian idea of naturae—and Japanese shizen. Here I intentionally use the Japanese word shizen, which is conceptionally different from ‘nature’.
"Paradise within": Religion and Politics in the Works of Milton and Herbert
-Fahimeh Naseri, University of Newcastle
The conception of ‘paradise within’ in Milton’s works was interpreted as him abandoning politics and honouring a quietistic retreat to the spiritual realm. However, this understanding has been challenged by critics such as Joan Bennett, Laura Lunger Knoppers, Sharon Achinstein, and most recently David Norbrook, who underscore some political issues that Paradise Lost engages. Barbara Lewalski has gone further and argues that the poem ‘undertakes a strenuous project of educating readers in the virtues, values, and attitudes that make a people worthy of liberty’. While recognising how significant the message of the poem is, she has not looked into questions such as whether Milton set up this perspective, or where this position places Milton in the hierarchy of Christian thought. What I try to argue here is that Milton’s political attitude, regarding the necessity of educating a nation in order to make them worthy of enjoying liberty in a Christian State, is part of an ongoing main stream of Protestant thought that is also shown in the writings of his predecessors such as George Herbert, who is not usually seen positioned in the same camp to him. By comparing Milton’s political notions which are represented in his poetry and prose to Herbert’s political ideas and values, that interconnected across a range of his writings, it will be revealed that they moved in the same direction in terms of their religio-political concerns. Both of them contributed to the current trend of thought in seventeenth-century England about man’s identity and his reciprocal relationship with religious, political and social establishments. The role that human beings’ conscience plays in guiding them to lead a virtuous life is reminiscent of, what can be called in Herbert’s poetry, the self-transcending power of man that helps him to receive grace. The support of an active role for individuals in political organisations by Milton and Herbert has its roots in their conception of man as a self-sufficient agent for his salvation, and of a paradise is to be found within.
What Happens in Sonnets: Considering Events in Milton’s Sonnets
-Ryan Netzley, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale
“When I consider how my light is spent” begins by emphasizing that considering is itself a temporal event that happens in the present and not merely a timeless reflection on the past. This present “considering” rejects the notion that events are primarily characterized by tension, dialectical or aleatory. Rather, Milton’s sonnet describes the event of considering as a rejection of punctual tension: “when” in this context means “whenever.” The event of considering then entails something other than deliberative preparation, pragmatic planning, or dialogic discussion with imagined speakers. As many commentators have noted, the sonnet stages nothing less than a fundamental reconception of how one should act in a world divinely ordered. However, the poem also represents a basic rethinking of what it means for something to happen, abjuring any easy distinction between active waiting and passive receptivity: this seems the point of both the enigmatic standing and waiting of the final line and the premature arrival of patience, prior to the customary volta. Even within a form as regular as the sonnet, one cannot rely on the appearance of pivotal turns to effect change, precisely because one is still imagining events either as an external formal structure of unfolding significance, or as a contingent eruption that threatens such homologous systems. In Milton’s hands, then, the sonnet form is neither the endless dithering of a conflicted speaker nor a deliberative preparation for ultimate action, political or amorous.
This paper argues that Milton’s sonnets reject the notion that fulfillment recedes into an infinitely deferred future. Instead of this model of merely futural hope, Milton’s sonnets attempt to locate an apocalyptically conceived transformation in the present and, frankly, to give substance to hope. In the end, these poems reconsider the relationship between contemplation and action and insist that events and actions are something more than the successful accomplishment of an imagined, narrative plan. Milton’s sonnets treat thought as an event in itself, for it is only this type of immanent happening that can wed both rational political persuasion and an apocalyptically conceived transformation. Ultimately, it is only through such a rethinking of the nature of events that we can treat poetry as anything more than pious homilies about the past or delusional window-dressing promising us a never present future. It is only this reconception that allows us to treat apocalyptic change as a live possibility in the present—i.e., as hope.
Restoring the Poetics of Transcendence: Tadao Yanaihara’s Lectures on Paradise Lost
-Kensei Nishikawa, Kobe City University of Foreign Studies
“God the Creator of all things…today we want to begin studying Thy high work and will through the literature of a poet, prophet and saint whom Thou establishedest in the world. May each of us ourselves become a poet, prophet and saint worthy of studying his work[.]”
This was the prayer offered before thirty or so young people, who gathered in their teacher’s home on one Sunday in May, 1945. The teacher was Tadao Yanaihara (1893-1961). He was about to begin a series of weekly lectures on Paradise Lost, which would last for the two years that saw Japan’s defeat in World War II and the social confusion ensuing it.
An influential Mukyokai (non-church) Christian and noted scholar in colonial studies, Yanaihara had been ousted from the academia for over eight years by that time, due to his criticism of the imperialistic government of Japan. As a wayfaring/warfaring Christian intellectual, however, Yanaihara struggled to convey his convictions, and one channel was a series of lectures on religious classics, of which his Milton readings were to form a part.
Often unabashedly Christian, Yanaihara’s interpretation of Paradise Lost may seem irrelevant to mostly secular readers in 2012. Yet taking Yanaihara’s response seriously can in fact be a refreshing experience. Specifically, he provokes us to revise our assumption on the relationship between the poetical and the transcendental: he urges us to find poetical elements in a passage long considered too theological, while alerting us to ethical complexities in those lines whose eloquence easily beguiles us. My paper will showcase some of this faith-informed criticism by Yanaihara, by looking at his commentaries on God’s speech in Book 3 and on Satan’s temptation speech in Book 9.
Shitsurakuen-monogatari (The Story of Paradise Lost) and Paradise Lost
-Yuko Noro, Nihon University
Shitsurakuen-monogatari, the first Japanese abridged version of Paradise Lost, was written by Tenrai Shigeno and published in 1903. It got a huge reaction, both positive and negative. Kenjiro Kuroda regards it as a monumental achievement. My aim in this paper is to show the characteristics of The Story of Paradise Lost in comparison with Milton’s original epic, and investigate the writer’s intentions and strategies towards Japanese average readership, which was, in those days, not sufficiently accustomed to Western culture and literature. In the first place, The Story consists of the first poetical section and the subsequent prosaic section of eleven parts. The poetical section is entitled “The Archfiend” in Japanese, and divided into two parts: the former is God’s sentence on Satan as the serpent in original English (Book X, ll.175-181), followed by a Japanese poem on Satan in eleven stanzas. Secondly, the narrative in prose begins with God’s announcement of begetting and enthroning of the Son to the angels in Heaven. Hearing this, Satan, though with a different name then, feels his merit injured, summons the one third of the angels, and secretly tries to raise an army against his Creator. Thus, it is clear that in the prose section, events are narrated chronologically to the end of the story, while Milton begins Paradise Lost, adopting the epic convention, in medias res: Satan’s awakening in the burning lake in Hell, after his defeat and expulsion from Heaven. Thirdly, seven illustrations by Gustave Doré are used in The Story, but they do not fit the narrative exactly; this slight discord might have alienated the reader from Milton’s world. My focus will be on the differences between Japanese and Western culture and literature, and the eagerness of Japanese men of literature in the Meiji period in absorbing things Western and Milton.
Two Nineteenth-Century Forgeries of a Paradise Lost Title-Page
-Jonathan Olson, University of Liverpool
One of the copies of the first edition of Paradise Lost held in the British Library contains a cleverly forged title-page, an imitation of Simmons’ final title-page in content and punctuation, except for the date which appears as 1667 instead of 1669. It was sold to the British Museum in 1962 by a decorated veteran who had been head of the SIS station in Cairo during World War II, and appears to have gone unmentioned in Milton scholarship since then. This title-page is not a one-off forgery, however, but another copy of a title-page that had emerged in 1909 at a meeting of the Massachusetts Historical Society where a member displayed his own prized copy of Paradise Lost, the fraudulent nature of the title-page being unknown to its exhibitor. This paper will present new research into the provenance of these forgeries and their common origin in the nineteenth century.
Journeys in Paradise Lost : Motion and Mapping of New Spaces
-Antonella Piazza, University of Salerno
The reader of Dante’s metaphysical journey down to hell , through Purgatory and upwards to Paradise has a diametrically opposed experience when confronted with Milton and Satan’s journey through the physical world. Rather than upwards and downwards Milton’s reader wonders ‘obliquely’ (Paradise Lost, 3,564) . My paper will modulate the notion of ‘oblique’ motion partly unsettling the opposition between ‘flight’ and ‘fall’ magistrally explored in the authoritative essay of David Quint, “Fear of Falling. Icarus, Phaethon, Lucretius in Paradise Lost” (2004).
When in his poem among the historical characters Milton mentions just Galileo and Columbus, he makes explicit his interest in modern ‘mappers’ of new, unexplored territories. But astronomy and physics rather that modern voyages and colonizations seem to seduce Milton. Satan’s and the archangel Raphael’s associations with Galileo are rather symptoms of the Copernican paradigm and the rediscovered Lucretian materialistic physics (Stephen Greenblatt, The Swerve. How the World Became Modern, 2011).
In Paradise Lost while Adam and Eve are subjected to a sudden radical change of state and setting, Satan continually moves. What is impressive of Satan’s journey is his motion in sidereal spaces; with an ambivalent (bodily) status (see Denise Albanese who points to Satan’s as a prosthetic body) Satan sets out on unprecedented journeys through spaces posited between ancient and new geographies, old and new cosmographies. Satan from Hell reaches the Earth through a Lucretian Chaos, crossing the astronomical spaces observed by Galileo’s optical glass. He embodies the literary paradigm expressive of the central scientific focus of the age on space, time and motion. “ ‘Eppure si muove’-‘And yet it moves’-were Galileo’s no doubt apocryphal words to the Inquisitors, yet they catch the spirit of the age, which everywhere in literature is reflected clearly enough” (Angus Flecher, Time, Space and Motion in the Age of Shakespeare, 2007). Satan and Milton map the quality of that movement and of that change.
But the final destination of Milton’s journey is not man’s fall precipitated by Satan; the process of mankind’s reparation, which Milton tries to trace, leads to a human ‘paradise within’, which is not the beatific vision of Dante’s pilgrimage. In Paradise Lost physics turns into ethics. The ‘oblique’ way of Satan’s journey is echoed in Adam and Eve’s ‘wondering steps’ which will imply—as I’ll try to elaborate in the paper-- also the mapping of new psychological and ethical spaces.
On the Genealogy of Wesley’s Miltonism
-Wayne Pounds, Aoyama Gakuin University
John Wesley’s preoccupation with Milton is a fact well established by generations of Methodist scholarship. Highlights of that history include his redaction of Milton’s epic called Paradise Lost Improved (1763), his demand that Methodist preachers read and distribute Milton’s epic (in their founder’s redaction), and the curriculum he established at Kingswood School, which required that large parts of the poem be memorized. A genealogy of Wesley’s Miltonism would glance at Milton’s 18th-century reception and then display a tree of several eccentric branches. On the mother’s side, its roots are said to descend to Arthur Annesley, first Earl of Anglesey, a friend and benefactor to Milton after the Restoration. On the paternal side, his father Samuel Wesley Sr. , Rector of Epworth, made voluminous efforts to show himself the Milton of his day, and “improved” Milton by trying in heroic verse to do more for the Gospels than Milton had done for Genesis, though to do so he had to borrow some pages from Paradise Regained.
Paradise Lost was central to the daily life of the Wesley children, second only to Holy Writ. Samuel Wesley Jr., the oldest of the nine children who survived to adulthood, wrote Miltonics as he moved in the penumbra of Pope, Swift, and Tory politicians, while staying apart from Methodism. (His friendship with Pope got his father removed from the Dunciad.) Charles Wesley, the youngest of the three sons, wove Milton’s language into the allusive weave of his six thousand hymns. Mehetabel Wesley, the fifth child and the rebel angel in the family, made a brilliant application of the Miltonic “text” by recognizing that her father’s ego was the true serpent in the earthly paradise of Epworth. Her poetic remains, once rescued from her brothers’ “improvements,” are of greater interest than the polished publications of the men. As was remarked of some of their contemporary coreligionists, "Their piety was better than their poetry...they had drunk more of Jordan than of Helicon."
"The Law I Gave to Nature": The Aporetic Proclamation of Natural Law in Paradise Lost
-Bjorn Quiring, Ludwig Maximilians University
In the 17th century, various discourses circulate which juxtapose the multi-layered terms “nature” and “law”. However, the interplay of the two concepts appears increasingly problematic: “nature” is often used as a term without an opposite, a synonym for “absolutely everything” including God; but it is also employed as the designation of some specific realm or force, set between God and man. “Law”, in its turn, is either thought to spontaneously emerge from, or to be equal with, or to be violently imposed upon nature. These contradictory conceptualizations are at work within legal theory, philosophy, theology, rhetoric, poetics, and above all, the emerging natural sciences. Developments in one of these fields of knowledge tend to reverberate in the others. As the “echoing chamber” of its epoch (in the words of William Empson), Paradise Lost is located at the crossroads of these changes and reverberations. Milton’s epic integrates theological, juridical, aesthetic as well as proto-scientific conceptions of “nature” and “law” and uses them in a fashion that sometimes seems to connect and harmonize all of them, but sometimes also causes them to brush uncomfortably against each other. Tensions come to a head in Milton’s use of the notoriously ambiguous term “natural law”. Natural law appears in Paradise Lost in the form of a paradoxical, “double-formed” jurisdiction that on the one hand is completely inherent in nature, and on the other transcends it immeasurably. Problems with the term become palpable in Milton’s strange description of Chaos, but above all in his representation of Man’s Fall, in which the epistemic and ethical problems of an overdetermined world are thrown into particularly sharp relief, thus disclosing some of the most poignant contradictions and epistemic ambivalences of the Restoration period.
Desire and the Poetics of the Flesh in Paradise Lost
-Noam Reisner, Tel Aviv University
The paper will offer a fresh perspective on Milton's theology of original sin and its wider implications for the poetics of the flesh and desire in Paradise Lost. Its central claim is that Milton's theology of original sin, as it is dramatized in Paradise Lost, is creatively Pauline rather than simplistically Augustinian in ways not entirely understood until now. Milton read and knew the Epistles (especially Romans, Galatians, and the Corinthian Epistles) in the Greek original and could only have arrived at his unique reading of the Epistles because he was attuned to the original literary dimension of the texts and what he construed literarily and only then theologically as their 'apostolic' or primitively Hebraic and Hellenic tones and lexis. By tracking closely how Milton engages in his divorce tracts and Paradise Lost with Paul's teachings on the married rite in 1 Corinthians 7, and in particular how he deploys in the poem in these contexts the key Pauline word 'desire' (epithymia), a fuller and more complicated view of Milton's theology of original sin emerges. In book ix of the epic Milton collapses a number of Pauline texts together in re-inscribing the tenth commandment, 'thou shalt not covet' (Exodus 20:17), into the Genesis ur-myth of the forbidden fruit and the consequences of Adam and Eve's trespass. In allowing for these Pauline connections and intertexts, some of which anticipate New Pauline theology by several centuries, many of the claims previously made by other scholars in regard to marriage and sexuality in Paradise Lost come into sharper focus, as does the materialist imperative of Milton's monism and the poetics of the flesh continually tainting the poem's illusion of one continuous matter with sinful metaphoric insinuations.
Archbishop Laud as Haman, Queen Henrietta Maria as Vashti: or, Why the Reverend Henry Burton Lost His Ears in 1637
-Carter Revard, Washington University
In 1636, the Reverend Henry Burton preached two sermons for Guy Fawkes Day, published in For God, and the King. For this and other writings, Burton was brought before the Star Chamber in June 1637 and adjudged to have committed “seditious libel.” On June 30, at Westminster, Burton, William Prynne, and John Bastwick had their ears cut off, their property was confiscated, and they were transported into exile. The episode was on Milton’s mind as he wrote Lycidas that November: the pamphleteers’ uses of Scriptural texts to attack the regime of Archbishop Laud and King Charles resonates especially in lines 108-31, where Milton denounces (lines 108-31) “corrupt clergy” and prophesies their ruin. The present paper considers Burton’s use of the Book of Esther in For God, and the King, citing Esther 3.8, where Haman and cohorts (by implication, Laud and Bishops) tempted King Ahasuerus (Charles) to extirpate the Jews (Puritans)—leading to destruction of Haman, and advancement of the Jews to be chief counselors and ministers of state throughout the Empire. Like Haman, Laud seeks to exterminate people chosen of God (Jews/Puritans), and will be hanged on his own gallows; Charles should stretch forth his golden sceptre (as Ahasuerus did to Esther) to make the Puritans his chief counselors and ministers, as were Mordecai and the Jews for Persia. Burton further cites Deuteronomy 13, apparently implying that Puritans should violently overthrow idolatrous Prelates and destroy them with the edge of the sword. Queen Vashti’s downfall, which enabled Esther to become the wife of Ahasuerus, surely echoed in the royal palace, since Charles was married to a Catholic queen whom the Puritans thought Charles should put away.
Milton’s Use of the Classical Messenger Scene in Samson Agonistes
-Stella P. Revard, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville
While defending in the introduction to Samson Agonistes his use of certain dramatic conventions of classical Greek drama, Milton says nothing about his use of the messenger scene, a device especially prominent in the tragedies of Sophocles and Euripides. The usual notion of the messenger scene is that it serves principally to narrate the violent action which convention placed off-stage. This is certainly true in many, though not all, of the ancient tragedies. However, this was not its only purpose of the messenger scene. Often directed to a particular person on-stage, it refines our view of the relationship of characters, who are most intimately affected by what the messenger relates. So in Phoenissae Jocasta, told of the death of her sons, is impelled to suicide, but Amphytrion in Heracles after being told how the deranged Heracles has slain his children must comfort his son. Accordingly Manoa in Samson, while facing life without Samson, rejoices in the changed circumstance of the Hebrews toward the Philistines. Often our view of a principal character will change after being told of his or her actions off-stage. Our sympathy for Medea or Hekabe in their respective tragedies may disappear, as we are told how they have taken their revenge off-stage. Conversely, the perversity of Eteocles and Polyneices in Phoenissae or the heroism of Hippolytus are confirmed, as we are told how they meet their deaths. On the one hand the tragedy of Oedipus is intensified in Oedipus Tyrannos or redeemed Oedipus at Colonus by what the messenger tells us of his off-stage action. Similarly in Samson our view of Samson is decisively affected by what the messenger tells us of his actions within the temple of Dagon.
"And Lichas from the top of Oeta threw": The Effect of Parallel Prose Editions on the Syntax of Paradise Lost
-Peter Roccia, Grant MacEwan University
Though separated by 235 years, James Buchanan’s The First Six Books of Paradise Lost Rendered into Grammatical Construction (1773) and Dennis Danielson’s Paradise Lost: Parallel Prose Edition (2008) share a common objective: to make the text of Milton’s epic poem more accessible to their respective readers. But in that greater accessibility, what do we potentially lose in translation? This paper compares select passages—such as Lichas’s fall from Mount Oeta, Mulciber’s expulsion from Olympus, and Satan’s hellish invitation to Adam and Eve—against both Buchanan’s and Danielson’s renditions, as a way to isolate expressive syntactical effects present in the verse, but absent in the prose. These syntactical effects, where a line’s word order mirrors its semantic content, are then placed within the context of their Latin precedents (variously referred to as “pictorial,” “metaphorical,” and “mimetic” syntax) and Milton’s own views on syntaxis (in Accedence Commenc’t Grammar) and hyperbaton (in Animadversions Upon the Remonstrant’s Defence Against Smectymnuus). What this comparison ultimately suggests, then, is that parallel prose editions of Paradise Lost, by removing these syntactical effects, can paradoxically make readers more aware of them. In the process, we gain a greater awareness of the grammatical preconceptions that we share with the Enlightenment but that separate us from the Renaissance, a more nuanced view of the relationship between English and Latin in Milton’s verse, and a finer appreciation for the relative syntactic freedom and expressiveness available to English within the original text of Paradise Lost.
Samson Agonistes as a Japanese Noh Play
-Hiroko Sano, Aoyama Gakuin University
Milton mentions that he never intended Samson Agonistes for the stage. Omitting divisions into act and scene, he resorts to the Greek tragedy. Action is not shown but reported in this “dramatic poem,” which is fit for reciting rather than for acting. Samson Agonistes has recently provoked various interpretations because scholars have considered it an ambiguous text. It would be possible to produce Samson Agonistes as a Noh play, and in the process, traditional Japanese dramaturgy might convey a powerful sense not so much of ambiguity but of cross-cultural universality.
Nō, or Noh, meaning “talent,” a type of Japanese drama dating back to the mid-fourteenth century, has been introduced to the West by Basil Hall Chamberlain, Earnest Fenollosa, Ezra Pound, Arthur Waley, Donald Keene, and Earl Miner. As has been often pointed out, it has very much in common with the Greek drama in the use of masks, a chorus, song and stately dances. In the Noh play, only a few personae, mainly the protagonist [shite], the deuteragonist [waki] and the tritagonist [tsure], appear on the apron stage with little properties. The chorus of eight singers sits at the side of the stage. Four players on the big-drum, the stick-drum, the hand-drum and the flute sit at the back of the stage. The protagonist converses with other characters and with the chorus by reciting and dancing.
The idea of adapting Samson Agonistes as such a highly stylized Japanese play is to be realized at the National Noh Theatre as part of the IMS10 held in Japan. This Noh will cast light on the multivalence of Milton’s work in our age of a multicultural world. I would therefore like to elaborate on the Noh Samson in a paper that will attempt an East-West cross-cultural interpretation of Milton’s dramatic poem.
Melancholic Imagery in Paradise Lost
-Wataru Sasakawa, Kitami Institute of Technology
Modern editors of Paradise Lost never fail to add notes about Mary Magdalene to the lines describing Eve in tears in Books V and X. It is true that the two depictions of the tearful Eve certainly remind readers of the penitent Mary Magdalene. The notes do not seem to tell the reason, however, why it is necessary to alert readers to the legendary woman in these two parallel scenes other than for her remorsefulness. The paper is to shed light on the reason for the high incidence of mentioning the saint in tears with the relation to Eve, and to consider the notion of sickness that is implied in both scenes.
Both descriptions of a lachrymose Eve, who wipes away tears with her long hair, not only invoke the penitent Mary Magdalene but also indicate the need to consider the condition of dolor and melancholy in two ways. First, in the prelapsarian Eden, after Adam consoles Eve for her “uncouth dream,” she sheds “a gentle tear” due to, as he says, “fancy,” one of the lesser faculties of “reason.” According to Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy, her troubling dream is similar to some symptoms of melancholy. Second, in Book X when Eve in tears is imploring Adam for his forgiveness for having eaten and shared the Forbidden Fruit, readers easily remember her similar behavior before the Fall. They may realize that Milton intends to demonstrate that melancholy implied in Eve’s dream permeates the fallen world, as stated in Book XI.
It is the concept of malady that reminds readers of Mary Magdalene because she was considered to be one of the most representative of melancholic figures. Examining similar episodes may reveal to us how the saint’s imagery has been worked into Paradise Lost.
Poetic Pleasure and Temperate Reading in Areopagitica and Paradise Lost.
Sara Saylor, University of Texas
In Areopagitica, Milton acknowledges that books can corrupt their readers by eliciting passions, yet insists that those passions, if “rightly tempered,” can become “ingredients of virtue.” I argue that Milton tests out this claim in Paradise Lost by presenting Raphael as a poet, whose pleasurable “song” has both corrupting and instructive effects. The angel compromises Adam and Eve’s innocence by awakening their insatiable curiosity about remote and forbidden subjects, yet he also aids in their spiritual regeneration after the Fall by cultivating their interpretive abilities and counseling temperance in the pursuit of knowledge.
Raphael aims to delight and instruct his audience, but Milton shows the difficulty of putting this poetic commonplace into practice as Adam’s delight works against the angel’s instructional intent. Raphael urges Adam to be content with what he knows, but his “song” elicits an increasing hunger for more knowledge, like sweet fruit that brings “no satiety” (8.216). Milton highlights the dangerous potential of the angel’s words by suggesting parallels between Raphael and Satan, both of whom have the rhetorical power to mislead and enthrall their listeners. To counter the negative effects of his song, Raphael counsels temperance and “self-esteem.”
Although Paradise Lost ultimately affirms Areopagitica’s claim that literary exposure to doubt and temptation can spiritually strengthen readers, Milton also complicates his earlier statements by showing the difficulty of responding to pleasurable poetic instruction in a “rightly tempered” way. Raphael’s struggles to temper and reorient Adam’s responses to his stories may reflect Milton’s anxieties about how to stabilize the meaning of his own poetry. My essay suggests previously unexplored connections between Areopagitica and Paradise Lost by bringing new focus to the questions of what it means to practice temperance in reading and whether this virtue can be taught.
Milton's Mountain Nymph and Pastoral Liberties
-Joshua Scodel, University of Chicago
Milton’s invocation of “sweet Liberty” in “L’Allegro” is apparently original in imagining her as a “mountain nymph” (line 36). This paper explores literary traditions informing Milton’s creative mythmaking and the light they shed upon the notion of freedom in a poem where “free” occurs three times as a resonant rhyme (lines 11, 40, 149).
L’Allegro draws on the frequent early modern association of mirth with freedom from both social and psychological constraints. While some scholars have glossed Milton’s line in terms of Renaissance ethnographic identifications of mountain communities like the Swiss cantons with political liberty, such mountain communities were associated with labor and a “hard” primitivism at odds with Milton’s leisured, carefree liberty. More relevant are Renaissance pastorals that located contradictory visions of liberty in an idealized Arcadia of pastoral otium, shielded by mountains from the outside world’s troubles. Renaissance pastorals offered opposed visions of Arcadian liberty as based on either sexual abandon or avoidance of erotic love, the former associated with the wanton mountain nymphs who cavort with Pan/Faunus, the latter with the virginal mountain nymphs who hunt with Diana. “L’Allegro” negotiates between these contrasting visions by evoking but tempering eroticism. The poet eroticizes his relation to personifications but displays his freedom from erotic servitude in his free mobility and in his treatment of female objects of desire, pastoral figures in the landscape, and the Ur-poet Orpheus’s erotic tragedy.
Renaissance pastorals also depict the general social conditions that render Arcadian freedom possible. The paper concludes by exploring how Milton’s poem transforms pastoral notions of freedom in depicting the poet’s independence from the different social groups his poem represents.
Milton, Marriage, and Myth in Anne Manning’s The Maiden and Married Life of Mary Powell
-Gregory Semenza, University of Connecticut
Certainly no aspect of the biographical record has had a more profound impact on the popular perception of Milton than the idea of the seventeenth-century poet as a domestic tyrant. Historian Christopher Hill could see even twenty-five years ago that “the popular image of Milton to-day is of an austere Puritan who advocated the subordination of women.” What Hill described as the “ironical” quality of the radical Milton’s conservative image has hardly been lost on those Milton readers whom we might be inclined to label as “popular”: as the former wine columnist for The Spectator poignantly remarked in 2001, “It is amazing how completely this defamatory picture [of Milton ‘the man’] has replaced the image of Milton as poetic hero and defender of liberty.” The defamatory picture of which he speaks is “that of a puritan prig whose joyless regime of study drove away his fun-loving (and Royalist) first wife Mary Powell, and who later in life inflicted on his daughters the penitential task of reading to him texts in dead languages.” Eminent leftist historians and journalists of right-wing newspapers such as The Spectator would seem to agree that Milton has been replaced in the popular consciousness by an impostor. In this essay, I want to consider how popular views of the domestic Milton were fought out and took root in the middle-years of Victoria’s reign, precisely because this was the period in which so many of our modern notions about marriage and divorce were developed and given legislative status. My analysis centers on one little-known but extraordinary Victorian novelist called Anne Manning, whose 1849 novel, The Maiden and Married Life of Mary Powell: Afterwards Mistress Milton, sought to work through Milton’s views on marriage and divorce for an increasingly modern age.
Leveling the Sublime: Translating Milton into English in the Eighteenth Century
-Aaron Shapiro, Boston University
Such was his doom impos’d by Heaven’s decree,
With ears that hear not, eyes that shall not see,
The Low to raise, to level the Sublime,
To blast all Beauty, and beprose all Rhyme.
-David Mallet (of Bentley), “Of Verbal Criticism” (1733)
Dennis Danielson’s recent “parallel prose” edition of Paradise Lost (2008) provides us with an ideal impetus to survey the curious and largely unexplored tradition of translating Paradise Lost into English. That is, into a more normative English. The prime mover of early English translations was John Dryden’s libretto for The State of Innocence, and Fall of Man (published 1677), and the next eighty years would see subsequent renditions of Milton’s poem, in prose and verse, under all three of Dryden’s “heads” of translation: metaphrase, paraphrase, and imitation. The motives of Milton’s English translators are, however, even more disparate than the modes of translation, and their products cannot merely be explained with theories of translation. One paraphrast claims to have brought Paradise Lost “something nearer the Summit of Perfection.” Others hope, variously, to make Milton’s “inimitable Book” accessible to women, “foreigners,” “young people,” and “those of a Capacity and Knowledge below the first Class of Learning.” These efforts, I contend, constitute the earliest call in English literary history for a universal readership, for a poet to be made available to “all English readers,” even if that availability requires some rewriting. Since the largest group of these translations belongs to the 1740s, this paper will trace the treatment of key Miltonic passages in contemporaneous commentaries, editions, and translations in order to underscore their shared enterprises. These translations, which often disregard Milton’s poem in the alleged service of Milton the “classic,” provide an instructive complement not only to scholarly assessments of Milton’s reception in the mid-eighteenth century by Dustin Griffin, Nicholas von Maltzahn, Leslie Moore, and Marcus Walsh, but also to the study of intersecting trends in this period: the rise in literacy, the emergent concept of the timeless bard, and translations of Paradise Lost into Latin and Greek.
Galileo and the Tuscan Artist: Two Perspectives of Milton’s Cosmos in Paradise Lost 7 and 8
-Valerie Shepard, University of California, Los Angeles
What occurs when Raphael attempts to describe natural phenomena in the cosmos that are fundamentally inexpressible in books 7 and 8? Some have suggested that Raphael’s message to Adam regarding the limits of his quest for cosmic knowledge is contradictory: Adam should both seek knowledge and refrain from it. At the same time, it has been posited that Paradise Lost’s attitude toward Galileo is highly ambiguous. This talk argues for a broader analysis of vision in Adam and Raphael’s discussion of creation by suggesting that Milton presents not one, but two astronomers in Paradise Lost: Galileo and the Tuscan artist. Instead of representing competing representations of Galileo, these two visionaries are an allegory for two different cosmic perspectives in Adam and Raphael’s discussion. Consequently, Raphael’s message to Adam is not contradictory when one considers it in the context of looking at the cosmos in two different ways: an unfallen way, which consists of both seeing the cosmos as filled with creatures, and knowing the difference between knowledge and speculation, and a fallen way, which consists of seeing pockets of the cosmos as uninhabited and inherently insignificant. Milton’s two astronomers demonstrate how he imagines his competing visions of the epic’s cosmos. In turn, Raphael will use vocabulary from the visual arts to teach Adam about what he actually sees in the cosmos, not to close down a study of the universe.
Paradise Founded: Wesleyan Education in Japan
-Paul Tsuchido Shew, Aoyama Gakuin University
This paper will offer a brief overview of Methodism and Methodist education in Japan including a brief history of Aoyama Gakuin, the host and a sponsor of this conference. Methodism embraced Milton and, with its emphasis on education and international outreach, may have been part of Milton's international spread. I will attempt to show in a small way how Milton may have been presented to students in Japan, but the main objective will be to show how Methodism came to be established in Japan and the significant contribution it has made here in the field of education.
Toward a Semiotics of Smell in Paradise Lost
-Lauren Shohet, Villanova University
However determinedly aloof Satan might hold himself from the visual delights of Eden, that "Assyrian Garden, where the Fiend / Saw undelighted all delight" (IV, 285-6), he does not even assay a pretence of distancing himself from its fragrances, those "vernal aires, / Breathing the smell of field and grove" (IV: 264-5). Early-modern studies have only begun to consider the phenomenology of smell (viz. Jonathan Gil Harris on Shakespearean gunpowder and Holly R. Dugan on the politics of perfume); I suggest that tracking scent will have consequences at least as far-reaching as Bruce R. Smith's study of Renaissance sound, which revealed us how differently selves are constituted aurally (in more permeable, inter-imbrecated relationships to environments) than visually. I begin in this paper to suggest that smell not only interweaves selves and others, subject and object, producer and receiver, even more thoroughly than sound does, but also that smell's deeply associative operations reshape perceptions of spatial and temporal relationships. This paper explores how olfaction in Paradise Lost -- whose smells mostly have been investigated in terms of heavenly fragrance (David Ried) and in Satan's strategic staging of the fruit's enticing scent to Eve -- consistently sponsor associative moments that link figurative and literal, here and how, source and adaptation. Hereby these moments shift scale, interweave history and the transhistorical, overlayer ontological and textual realms: they change their receivers' experiences of time, place, and being. Incense spritzes wafts of heaven to earth, culminating when the Son brings the "smell of peace toward Mankinde" (XI: 36), looking forward to a time when, through Christ's recuperation of the Fall, time will have been erased; conversely, the "smell / Of mortal change on Earth" (X: 272f) infernally marks the beginning of historical time, "connaturally" linking Sin in "secret amity" to "things of like kinde," collapsing "greatest distance." My primary interest in this paper, however, lies in more earthly fragrances. When gentle gales in Eden "whisper whence they stole" their "balmie spoiles" of "native perfumes" (IV: 156 ff), they not only carry the spatial origin of those scents into the arena of discharge, but also sponsor the ensuing simile that links this prelapsarian smellscape with the land breezes carrying Arabian particles over the ocean (not only geographically removed, but also presumably postlapsarian) (IV: 160ff). Moreover, these "odorous sweets" underwrite further narrative excursion, into intertextually as well as historically removed climes, as the poem compares Satan's olfactory response to Asmodeus' ("with them better pleas'd / Then Asmodeus with the fishie fume" -- moving from the narrative present to the Book of Tobit, from prelapsarian Eden to Old-Testament-era Persia.) The operations of smell in Paradise Lost play out in variable ways -- the effect of Eve's leveling of temporal and ontological variation in her paean to Adam (the scents of "sweet breath of morn" and "fragrant showers" "all please alike" [IV: 640]) amasses diversity into unity (which I model as vertical layering), different from the extensions of the Sabian-odours passage just cited (which I understand as horizontal networking). Consistently, however, the operations of smell in the poem change the expected terms of contiguity and distinction, here and elsewhere, then and now, in ways that I compare to our experiential (and, increasingly, neurological) recognition of how smell rearticulates time in its sponsorship of memory, rearticulates space when it suddenly alters our sense of presence and distance (when a breeze brings a scent from far away), and rearticulates cognition (in our often pre-verbal responses to smell).
The Limits of Worst in Paradise Lost and King Lear
-Daniel Shore, Georgetown University
All of Milton’s late poems explore the problem of “the worst.” The most extended discussion comes in Book 2 of Paradise Lost when the demons debate whether, as Moloch suggests, they “are at worst” in hell, or whether, as Belial contends, they remain there “for ill not worst.” But Samson also wonders whether, disgraced and in darkness, he has reached “the worst,” and in Paradise Regained Satan declares that the “worst is my Port, / My harbour and my ultimate repose.” Milton’s “worst” is what theorists like Bataille, Blanchot, and Foucault call a “limit-experience.” In contrast to the stable, unified “lived experience” of the phenomenologists, writes Foucault, the limit-experience “wrenches the subject from itself” as it crosses over into Nietzsche’s “unlivable” experience. Although Kant is the first philosopher to devote explicit attention to the limiting conditions of experience, I argue that Milton also develops an account of experience and its (lowest) limits in the more simple, sensuous, and passionate medium of poetry. He does not build his account of the worst from scratch, but instead draws from King Lear, Shakespeare’s magnum opus on the unlivable. In the first scene of Act 4, Edgar, dressed as Poor Tom, wishes “To be worst, / The lowest and most dejected thing of fortune.” But when his father is led on stage blind, gore still dripping from his eyes, he laments, “the worst is not / So long as we can say ‘This is the worst.’” This essay contends that Milton rewrites Shakespeare’s account of the worst so that there is no possible port, harbour, or ultimate repose. Experience, for Milton, has a definite upper bound, but has no bottom, no worst. Perversely enough, the worst is infinite and unbounded because an omnipotent, beneficent God governs the universe.
"Somebody’s Fool": Samson and the Absurd
-William Shullenberger, Sarah Lawrence College
There are so many undecideds about Milton’s Samson: is Samson Agonistes an early or a final work; is Samson a regenerate type of Christ or a self-deluding antithesis to the Jesus of Paradise Regained; is Samson a religious terrorist or a cathartic agent of fictional release from suicidal and murderous impulse; is the blind Samson in confinement a figure for Milton’s own frustrated sense of dispossession in the Restoration, or the figure through whom MIlton works himself and his readers through such existential anguish; is the tragic catastrophe of the play a sign of Samson’s suicidal blindness or of sudden apocalyptic insight into the prospects of human liberation? What if we reflect on Samson as an enigma and a holy fool? The riddler of the Book of Judges, Samson is Milton’s undecideable double and riddle, a type of humanity as enigmatic as Sophocles’s Oedipus and Ajax. One thing that is certain is that everybody wants a piece of Samson, not only the Philistines, Manoa, Harapha, Dalila, and the Danite chorus in the play, but also the readers of his play, including us. This experiment in reading does not try to solve the enigma of Samson, but to to account for his insolubility, reframing the discussion by considering what we might learn about Samson when we consider his character, situation, and action in relation to Kierkegaard’s account of the absurd of faith in Fear and Trembling; and in relation to some modern theatrical paradigms of the absurd: the ragged tramps and clowns extemporizing while waiting for something to happen in Samuel Beckett’s slapstick plays, and Sartre’s dark dramatization of the human condition, unfortunately reduced now to a popular cliché, in Huis Clos (No Exit): ‘L’enfer, c’est les autres’ (‘Hell is other people’).
“Unspeakable desire to see, and know": The Private and Public Spaces of Milton’s 1671 Poems
-Eric B. Song, Swarthmore College
Of True Religion (1673) argues that even private Catholic worship must be stopped. Milton cites Ezekiel 8, in which God commands the prophet to witness abominations through a hole in a wall and then to dig through it. The prophet literally breaches the separation of conscience and polity. Writing at a watershed in the evolution of modern privacy, Milton advocates both personal freedom and state intervention. This paper locates in Milton’s 1671 poems the conflicted desire to eradicate and to maintain public and private realms. Milton’s Samson finds himself in a Greek tragedy—a form, as Hegel reminds us, that stages conflicts between private and public commitments. Samson declares before Dalila the absolute priority of the public good. Milton’s Jesus, however, anticipates the conflicted Christian subject. He desires to “publish his godlike office” but concludes the brief epic by retreating privately to Mary’s home. The Miltonic urge to pry encounters its limit. Although Jesus, explicitly compared to Oedipus, ends the poem ob skena, he uniquely merits total privacy. Yet two paradoxes emerge: the poet narrates the “unobserved” actions of Jesus, who awaits a tragic fate of public humiliation. Milton’s writings reveal the importance of Hebraic thought in the genealogy of the public and private. The single example from Of True Religion complicates Arnold’s dictum that Hellenism sees things accurately while Hebraism strives for obedience. Debora Shuger traces a strand of political theology to Plato’s Laws, which imagines a wholly communal society. Josephus curiously argues that Jewish culture is superior because it embodies the Platonic model. Milton underscores the distinction between Plato and Josephus: God, not adherence to law, uncovers private interests. Yet Milton also longs for intimate privacy. The interplay between Hebraic and classical thinking underwrites Milton’s sense of Christian individualism and polity, whose contradictions persist to the present day.
Sublime Violence in Milton’s Republican Sonnets
-John D. Staines, John Jay College, City University of New York
During the Civil War and Commonwealth periods, Milton’s conflicting attitudes towards violence collide in his versions of the Petrarchan sonnet. At moments, Milton seems to embrace the violence of the coming apocalypse, God coming with his flaming engine to purge the Earth in sublimely terrifying images. Yet Milton also holds a tragic attitude towards human violence more typical of what David Norbrook has called the republican sublime, where the high energy of radical revolution coexists with the historical knowledge of the ultimate frailty and eventual fall of the classical republics. The sonnet form, particularly when written with Milton’s breathless enjambments, becomes a tool for expressing this conflicted attitude towards violence: a movement in the octave towards violence might become in the sestet a movement back away from it, a rethinking of the human rush to press forward to the apocalypse. This is true in both his personal and his public sonnets. The dread God of the Hebrew Scriptures collides with a tragic view of human history, and even the heroic sonnets that celebrate republican virtue in times of crisis look anxiously towards peace. Likewise, a call to vengeful God to rescue London or Piemont can shift at the sonnet’s turn to focus on the humans who only wait or flee. These sonnets thus meditate upon the same problems of violence and force in human history which animate the final poems, poems alternately sparse and sublime. In recognizing that Milton entertains these questions about the relationship between divine and human violence, we can see a parallel to the structure of the 1671 volume of Paradise Regain’d and Samson Agonistes, in a sense a sonnet dramatized at massive scale.
Repetition, Repentance, and Passionate Sublimity in Paradise Lost
-Noel Sugimura, Georgetown University
This paper will employ Milton’s eighteenth-century readers to trace the relationship emergent in Paradise Lost book 10 between biblical repetition, versification, and the process of repentance. In particular, it will examine how eighteenth-century readerly reactions to Milton shed light on how the poem recasts the Nisus and Euryalus episode from Aeneid, book ix, and how this allusion to Virgil contributes to the religious passion of repentance evolving throughout book 10. What my paper suggests is that Milton’s readers are invited to experience repentance not as a product of grace but as an experience of it—of how it unfolds in the subject. While Eve’s offer of self-sacrifice (PL, X.936) almost directly translates Aeneid ix.427, Milton also inflects this echo ofNisus’s cry with the scriptural lament of Abigail (I Sam. 25.24). What Milton’s eighteenth-century readers of this passage recuperate for us is how thispassage actually enacts the process through which Eve—and, by extension, Adam—learns what it means to repent. This paper therefore explores how Eve’s lament captures, poetically, a moving process of repentance, and how repentance itself becomes a powerful instance of a religious passion in Paradise Lost.
Milton and Dryden: The Heritage of the English Republic
-Go Togashi, Ferris University
Dryden is not often mentioned in Milton studies, except as Milton’s colleague in the Latin Secretariat under the Protectorate, or as the author of The State of Innocence, an adaptation of Paradise Lost. The most important link between the two poets, however, is none of these. Rather, it is in their interest in England’s recent past: they share the vocabulary and themes freshly inherited from the Civil-War and Republican periods, even though they differ greatly in the way they handle them. In this paper, I will examine this heritage, reading Milton’s later poems and Dryden’s early plays. Though rarely juxtaposed, these works indeed share many themes related to the Civil Wars and the Republic: tyranny, obedience, rebellion, the force of arms, the right of conquest, self-preservation, liberty and slavery, glory, cause, ambition, providence, God’s support and desertion, public good, free will, ingratitude to the liberator, and so forth. Thus, Milton in Paradise Regained combines force and liberty in Satan’s temptation of Jesus (‘Use force to free the people’), and in Samson Agonistes puts public good in the mouths of both Samson and Dalila; Dryden, on the other hand, in The Indian Queen (with Howard) asks whether love is more important than liberty, and whether a loved enemy should be killed for public good. By pinpointing the ways Milton and Dryden draw upon such shared heritage in their works, we will realize how historically bound, and yet how imaginative and creative (and how different), they are as poets. Also, reviewing the heritage will help us picture more clearly the early Restoration environment, in which literature went on developing, seeing the contemporary events probably no less disturbing than those of the previous decade.
Anne-Marie du Boccage’s “Le Paradis terrestre” (1748) As a Model of Cultural Transfer through Translation
-Christophe Tournu, University of Strasbourg
This paper will take on an often ignored book in Milton studies. It will start by investigating the adaptation norms the French author (and future academy member) lays out in the preface to her imitation of Paradise Lost. Then, we’ll go on to compare the original piece with the French text. In a last section we’ll map the universe of the two poems. As a conclusion, Le Paradis Terrestre, poème imité de Milton will no longer appear as a mere trifle, or “mignardise”, but as a real work of art fully adapted to eighteenth-century French culture.
Points of Contact: Nature in Milton's Paradise Lost and Wordsworth's Nature
-Hiroko Tsuji, Doshisha Women's College of Liberal Arts
This paper will consider Milton’s way of presenting nature in Paradise Lost, particularly Adam’s and Eve’s way of living connected with the surrounding nature in order to clarify Milton’s ecological view of nature, in contrast with that of Wordsworth, who is also deeply concerned with nature. First of all, we will note how Milton concentrates on describing the physical traits of Eden, described as “a delicious Paradise” full of energy and life, thus appealing to our senses. This representation of nature in Milton’s Paradise gives us the image of a nature that is alive, in the same way that human beings are alive. As for the relationship between human beings and nature, nature seems to be friendly as well as obedient to human beings. This personified relationship between human beings and nature seems to be based on the account of Genesis that man is created as lord of all the creatures, including the natural world. Though Wordsworth, also, often uses personification in his descriptions of nature, there is a great difference between the two poets concerning the symbiosis between human beings and nature. For Wordsworth, too, nature is living existence, compared to human beings or something alive, but human beings are subject to living nature. The poet is usually overcome by nature spiritually or physically. He believes in a spiritual existence in nature which transcends human existence while human beings are passive to it as the speaker exhorts “wise passiveness.”
On the other hand Milton presents human beings as lords, dominating all the creatures according to God’s decree. This domination does not mean to conquer nature but to take care of it and to take responsibility for it according to Milton’s exegeses of the Bible. Adam’s and Eve’s living in Paradise shows vividly the consequences—doctrinal and poetic—of this domination. This exegeses suggests something of our ecological attitude toward nature which is urgent matter of today．
Rendering Milton’s Black Sisterhood Visible
-Reginald A. Wilburn, University of New Hampshire
Who is Milton’s early black sisterhood, and what theoretical framework can rescue them from anonymity in reception studies devoted to England’s poet of liberty? My paper answers both of these questions by highlighting the scores of overlooked and neglected black women writers and orators who “tested and testified” with Milton in their literary works and reading circles. I will survey this invisible trajectory in early black women’s writing by examining poetry, journal entries, essays, and the culture of black women’s reading circles. My paper culminates with the first theoretical accounting of Miltonic presence in Cooper’s feminist essay, A Voice From the South (1892). In that collection of feminist essays, Cooper “revels. . . in the strength of Milton” and boldly rewrites the Narcissus passage of Paradise Lost. This subversive practice models a new poetics for the African American literary tradition as the dawn of the twentieth century approaches. Collectively, these black feminist appropriations reveal a fascinatingly new interpretive paradigm or “horizon of expectations” distinct from the reading practices of Milton’s black brotherhood and white sisterhood respectively. If “people of varied life experiences—racial, social, gendered, political, educational—will find in the same literary work numerous varied reactions and readings” as the editors of Milton and the Grounds of Contention assert, then my focus on early black women’s responses to England’s epic poet of liberty allows for a revolutionary way of articulating the enduring strength and power of the poet at four-hundred years. As my examination of Milton’s black sisterhood will reveal, their signifyin(g) practices of rebellious appropriation catapults them to the status of secular feminist preachers. Thus, like Milton’s Eve, they preach feminist gospels of redemption, restoration, and reconciliation while also transgressing conventional codes of femininity and defying the cult of true womanhood.
Twenty-First Century Milton: Modern Technology's Positive Trivialisation of John Milton
-Michelle Zappa, University of Exeter
Modern western society has trivialised the works and person of John Milton. References to Milton or his works used repeatedly in film, television and theatre no longer remember Milton’s historical moment, but use Milton in contexts far removed from his own. Concurrently, twenty-first century entertainment technology allows audiences to use more of their senses and become more involved with the action portrayed than ever before. With HD picture quality, 3D cinema and now 3D television, audiences not only feel a part of the action, but can more intimately relate to text, and apply it to their own historical moment. Has modern technology damaged the way in which modern readers relate to Milton's texts?
This paper investigates how the work of John Milton has been adapted, transformed and remembered by a modern readership amidst a climate of increasingly interactive modern entertainment. From the outset of the twentieth century, Milton’s works have been transformed from page to stage. The 1900 full performance of one of his most explicitly dramatic texts, William Poel’s Samson Agonistes in many senses paved the way for performing Milton. Since then, Samson has experienced numerous and varied adaptations; John Collier wrote a screenplay for Paradise Lost; Mark Morris’ L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato interpreted Milton’s two early poems through dance; Ben Power’s theatrical adaptation of Paradise Lost has garnered critical acclaim; and the BBC have released radio play adaptations of Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained respectively. Such wealth of examples demonstrates how easily Milton’s work has metamorphosed into twentieth- and twenty-first century media forms, and consequently is trivialised. However, through the recognition and utilisation of such trivialisation, this paper establishes the positive role of modern media presentations of Milton’s work in the field of Milton Studies.