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Recent John Milton scholarship has seen a revival of interest in the practice of close reading: historically and theoretically informed attention to the author’s poetic and rhetorical style. Responding to this emerging trend, To Repair the Ruins examines how close reading functions as an act of recovery, an attempt to close the gap between past and present, or as an act of repair that uses the past to reenvision a ruined or fallen present. In this volume’s 12 essays, esteemed scholars offer fresh perspectives on the significance of close reading for Milton criticism, presenting both new topics in Milton studies and new ways to read and think about previously considered topics. Part 1 of the book calls for revival—for a return to close reading, an exploration of Milton’s undervalued Latin poems, and a reexamination of neglected aspects of Paradise Lost. Part 2 analyzes Milton’s understanding of inward experience and the relationship between reading, self-reflection, and action. Part 3 explores the historical record—medieval Catholicism, Milton’s biography, and seventeenth century religious conflicts—to shed light on forgotten or obscured details central to the meaning of particular texts. Finally, part 4 assesses not merely the author’s reception history, but also the ways in which Milton’s work has been used to address the concerns and even amend the problems of later readers—from politicians to visual artists to prisoners. Each chapter, in one way or another, attempts to bridge the gap between literary and historical studies—between the delight we may take in the beauty, in the unstable, sometimes bewildering proliferation of meanings we encounter in a poem, and the worldly commitments of an author trying to prosecute arguments in a world of policy and ideological or theological conflict. A significant contribution to Milton studies, To Repair the Ruins will also be of interest to scholars concerned with general discussions of close reading, as well as Protestant revisionist poetics, art, environment, and devotional practice.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
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  1. Contents
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  1. List of Illustrations
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. p. xi
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-17
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  1. Part One: Recovering Milton’s Poetics
  2. p. 19
  1. 1. Lord Monboddo, Close Reading, and “Density of Sense” in Paradise Lost
  2. pp. 21-39
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  1. 2. Milton’s Pagan Counterpoetic: Eros and Inspiration in Elegy 5
  2. pp. 41-76
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  1. 3. Milton’s Empyreal Conceit
  2. pp. 77-113
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  1. Part Two: Rereading the Inner Landscape
  2. p. 115
  1. 4. Reading, Recognition, Learning, and Love in Paradise Regained
  2. pp. 117-145
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  1. 5. Paradise Regained in the Closet: Private Piety in the Brief Epic
  2. pp. 147-172
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  1. 6. Restoration Dissent, Conscience, and the Paradise Within in Paradise Lost
  2. pp. 173-192
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  1. Part Three: Recovering Ruins
  2. p. 193
  1. 7. Milton’s Genii Loci and the Medieval Saints
  2. pp. 195-216
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  1. 8. David and Charles, Laud and Satan: The Two-Handed Engine of 1 Chronicles 21
  2. pp. 217-230
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  1. 9. Unruly Daughter, Virtuous Wife: The Double Subject and Double Occasion of Milton’s Sonnet 9
  2. pp. 231-251
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  1. Part Four: Reception, Ruin, and Repair
  2. p. 253
  1. 10. Milton, Cromwell, and Napoleon in Chateaubriand and Hugo
  2. pp. 255-282
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  1. 11. The Fate of Place in Paradise Lost: Three Artists Reading Milton
  2. pp. 283-338
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  1. 12. Education as Repair: Paradise Lost in Prison
  2. pp. 339-358
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 359-422
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  1. About the Contributors
  2. pp. 423-427
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 429-436
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Additional Information

ISBN
9780820705798
Print ISBN
9780820704548
MARC Record
OCLC
821736996
Pages
448
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-01
Language
English
Open Access
N
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