Fallenness and Poetic Tradition in <i>Paradise Lost</i>
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: Duquesne University Press
Title Page, Copyright
Over the seven years I spent working on this project, I was supported and assisted by more people than I can name here, all of whom have my gratitude, whether mentioned here or not. This book began as a dissertation overseen by Pete...
Paradise Lost is a fallen poem. In telling the story of the Fall of humankind as something that has happened, that is past, Milton’s great epic situates itself in a moment in time after that Fall, within the postlapsarian world whose genesis the poem...
1. Satan and the Poetics of Creation
It was Harold Bloom who, in his Anxiety of Influence, found in Milton’s Satan the beginning of all modern poetry. As an allegory of the “strong poet,” Satan in Bloom’s thinking “shadows forth gigantically a trouble at the core of” poetry from...
2. Fallen Language and Paradise Lost’s Allusions
Bloom identifies Satan as the inception of modern poetry in order to describe how poems within a tradition relate to one another. I would like to argue in the next two chapters that, because Satan is, in fact, the inception of all poetry, at least according...
3. The Particular, the New, and the Tradition
When Satan sets in motion Eve’s and then Adam’s self-creation by presenting them with a negative possibility — the potential to choose difference instead of God’s sameness — he creates a world in which poetry is possible. When he establishes that...
4. Justifying the Ways of God to Men
The previous chapters have demonstrated the intimate link between Satan’s development in the poem and Paradise Lost’s self-conscious construction as a poem, both in its own right and as a work necessarily situated within a tradition. As the first to fall...