The Augustinian Epic, Petrarch to Milton
Publication Year: 2005
Published by: University of Michigan Press
Introduction: Petrarch’s Culpa and Augustine’s Counsel
This book offers a history of Renaissance epic poetry that starts at the beginning. It therefore starts with Petrarch’s tormented soul, which—if we accept the most brazen of his self-publicity—was a soul so exquisitely tormented that it fueled the energies that wrought the achievements that marked the dawn of the Renaissance after ages of darkness. Also, this history...
1. Petrarch’s Culpa and the Allegory of the Africa
That Petrarch’s Africa would pose challenging and interesting interpretive problems might seem, on its ‹rst encounter, an unlikely proposition. Its account of Scipio’s victory over Hannibal follows Livy’s narrative closely, and most of the details of Scipio’s prophetic dream upon his landing in Africa come right out of the Somnium Scipionis fragment of...
2. Renaissance Allegories of the Aeneid: The Doctrine of the Two Venuses and the Epic of the Two Cities
In the fifth discourse, Speroni repeats his criticism of Aeneas’s mother with even more exasperation: “she had Dido fall in love with Aeneas, and consented with Juno that they would be wedded, to the harm of Venus and to the satisfaction of Juno. A ridiculous affair.”2...
3. Petrarch’s Culpa in Gerusalemme liberata
In the Folger Shakespeare Library is a copy of one of the first editions of Tasso’s Gerusalemme liberata (Ferrara, 1581), replete with marginal notes and verses in Italian and English that were penned by various seventeenth- and eighteenth-century hands. Those that do not serve the purpose of elucidation are laudatory, but for one...
4. The Epic Imitation of Christ: Marco Girolamo Vida’s Christiad
With this chapter, I move from unveiling the “hidden truths” of the allegorical epics to conducting rhetorical analyses of the biblical epics—the Christiads by Marco Girolamo Vida and Alexander Ross and John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Despite the obvious “allegorical elements” in these poems, such as the personi‹cations of Sin and Death in Milton’s epic,...
5. Vergil the Evangelist: The Christiad of Alexander Ross
The Christiad that is the subject of this chapter represents nothing less than the ultimate Augustinian conversion of the epic form, and it is a truly stunning accomplishment. But even universal agreement on these points is unlikely to repair the legacy of its author, Alexander Ross (1590–1654). Born...
6. Augustinian Epic in Paradise Lost
Every Miltonist will have recognized in the preceding chapters that my analyses of the Christiads by Marco Girolamo Vida and Alexander Ross argue a “way of working” that anticipates the method of Paradise Lost as Stanley Fish interprets it in his landmark study Surprised by Sin. This...
Afterword: Augustinian Epic in Romance Epic—Rejections on Spenser’s Faerie Queene
For some readers, possibly, the rhetoric of my argument in chapter 6, especially the final section’s characterization of Milton’s answer to what could only be, for him, an unacceptable binary opposition in the Augustinian epic between being a prisoner to lust and living a life of contemplative...
Page Count: 282
Publication Year: 2005
OCLC Number: 651663019
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