Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-vii

Illustrations

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pp. viii-x

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Preface

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pp. xi-xxxii

Criticism is cumulative and, as it accumulates, assumes a corrective function, emending both a critic’s own errors, as well as the mistakes of others, in the process setting the record straight. That is a first imperative when criticism, in this instance of Milton, risks coming to a standstill, largely through ...

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One Reinterpreting Samson Agonistes

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pp. 1-66

The history of criticism is partly the story of changes and choices in both focus and methodology, some of which, the outcome of new discoveries, force both a reconceiving and a rewriting of tradition and, simultaneously, its pluralization. ...

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Two Justifying Samson’s Ways

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pp. 67-100

For some it is a fact, now indisputable, that the Samson of the Epistle to the Hebrews — a Samson sanitized and sainted — is Milton’s Samson. While Gladys J. Willis would trace Milton’s Samson, a “Saint,” to Athanasius (d. 373), even as she questions, ...

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Three “Glorious for a While”

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pp. 101-144

In Pseudo-Philo (first century A.D.), in response to Samson’s taking Delilah as his wife, God speaks:
Behold now Samson has been led astray through his eyes, and he has not remembered the mighty works that I did with him; and he has mingled with the daughters of the ...

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Four Several Texts in One

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pp. 145-192

Robert Bellarmine is the Catholic most frequently cited, among the Protestant commentators, as a sanction for the supposedly Popish interpretation of Revelation 7; and Bellarmine believed, as Francis Rollenson reports disapprovingly, that “the ...

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Five Thought Colliding with Thought

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pp. 193-242

By the seventeenth century, certain counter tendencies had already obtruded upon orthodox interpretation of the Samson story; and ubiquitous reference to this story was prompting new interpretation. That Samson was so often present in ...

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Six From Political Allegory to an Allegory of Readings

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pp. 243-286

Milton’s last poems are of a piece. In each of them, the poet makes interpretive choices in the full realization that to reject a representation, or an interpretation, on theological or political grounds does not preclude its use in poetry. For example, ...

Notes

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pp. 287-344

Index

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pp. 345-354