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The Age of Milton and the Scientific Revolution
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In The Age of Milton and the Scientific Revolution, Angelica Duran reveals the way in which Milton’s works interacted with the revolutionary work of his contemporaries in science to participate in the dynamic “advancement of learning” of the time period. Bringing together primary materials by early modern scientists, including Robert Boyle, William Gilbert, William Harvey, Isaac Newton, John Ray, and John Wilkins as well as educational reformers such as Samuel Hartlib and Henry Oldenburg, The Age of Milton and the Scientific Revolution positions Milton’s literature as a coequal partner with the new cosmological theories, mathematical developments, telescopes, and scientific tracts that so thoroughly affected every aspect of recorded life in seventeenth century England. Duran shows, for example, how new developments in ornithology worked to shape the Lady’s power in the young Milton’s celebratory A Mask, how mathematics informed the sexual relationship of Adam and Eve in his mature epic Paradise Lost, and how developments in optics transformed the blinded hero of the blind author’s moving tragedy Samson Agonistes. While this study is indebted to the work of historians of science—from C. P. Snow and Thomas Kuhn to Stephen Shapin and Stephen Jay Gould—it is not a history of science per se, but rather a cultural study that appreciates poetry as a unique lens through which early modern England’s large-scale developments in education and science are clarified and reflected. What emerges is an intimate sense of how the enormous changes of the English Scientific Revolution affected individual lives and found their ways into Milton’s enduring poetry and prose.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright Page
  2. p. i
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  1. CONTENTS
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. ILLUSTRATIONS
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
  2. pp. xi-xii
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  1. Introduction: Knowledge Regained
  2. pp. 1-27
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  1. PART I. Teachers: The Sinews of Ulysses
  2. p. 29
  1. ONE. Milton among Early Modern Scientists
  2. pp. 31-48
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  1. TWO. The Death of the Natural Philosopher and Pastoral Teacher
  2. pp. 49-69
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  1. THREE. Milton’s Angelic Vanguard, Uriel and Gabriel
  2. pp. 71-91
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  1. FOUR. Pre- and Postlapsarian Teachers, Raphael and Michael
  2. pp. 93-110
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  1. PART II. Academic Subjects: “The reforming of Education”
  2. p. 111
  1. FIVE. The Standard Academic Subjects and Their Function
  2. pp. 113-129
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  1. SIX. Subjects of Change in L’Allegro, Il Penseroso, and A Mask
  2. pp. 131-207
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  1. SEVEN. Subjects for Change in Of Education
  2. pp. 153-178
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  1. EIGHT. The Sexual Mathematics of Paradise Lost
  2. pp. 179-207
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  1. PART III. Students: “Poor striplings”
  2. p. 209
  1. NINE. Brave, New Students
  2. pp. 211-224
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  1. TEN. From Philomela to luscinia magarhynchos in A Mask
  2. pp. 225-249
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  1. ELEVEN. The Son’s Last Stages of Education
  2. pp. 251-269
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  1. TWELVE. Samson and Natural Religion
  2. pp. 271-296
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  1. APPENDIX A
  2. pp. 297-302
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  1. NOTES
  2. pp. 303-340
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  1. INDEX
  2. pp. 341-349
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