Milton and the Incarnational Poetics of Revolutionary England
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: University of Notre Dame Press
Title Page, Copyright
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“a grateful mind / By owing owes not . . . , at once / Indebted and discharg’d.” This work has been encouraged and sustained by many, and it is my hope that I have met their considerable generosity with a mind and heart brimming with gratitude. I know that none of them consider ...
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Revolutionary England was populated by immortals. Most dwelled in the banality of their own day-to-day affairs without interruption, without incident, and within the sometimes-overlapping spheres of public and private devotion. Prompted by mysterious, inner motions, a few of ...
Part I: Proclaiming the Word
Chapter 1: “Such harmony alone”
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The Incarnation is the site of serene beauty and stark terror, flashing illumination and darkened vexation: How is it that an infinite Being stoops its head under the lintel of the starry sky to dwell in the cracked clay of a finite creature? In the Incarnation, the “manger contains the ...
Chapter 2: Infernal Prophesying
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When Satan is discovered by the angels Ithuriel and Zephon in Eden, having already half-accomplished his task in his insidious whispering to the sleeping Eve, he is brought before Gabriel to account for his presence. Satan first replies that he has escaped hell to “boldly venture to ...
Part II: Milton’s Incarnate Reader
Chapter 3: The Greatest Metaphor
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In his Life of Moses the Cappadocian Gregory of Nyssa (d. 395) understands Moses’s transforming encounter with the “text” of the burning bush as a figure for the Incarnate Word—the Lord descends into creation to inhabit and underwrite material reality without consuming it. ...
Chapter 4: Milton’s Parable of Misreading
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We first meet Satan and his cohort of rebel angels in Paradise Lost as they are engulfed in “livid flames” (1.182) and are ceaselessly tossing upon the furious waves of hell’s lake, newly vanquished and desirous of relief. Trying to rouse his fallen troops Satan suggests they raise themselves ...
Chapter 5: Fashioning the True Pilot
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In the previous chapter we explored the poetic, parabolic, and theological trope of the ship upon the seas as a keen image of the soul in reading that is faced with the dangers of false stability and transcendence in the figure of the Leviathan. The emblem epitomizes Milton’s argument ,,,
Part III: Revolutionary Incarnations and the Metaphysics of Abundance
Chapter 6: The Perfect Seed of Christ
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For the Presbyterian minister Thomas Edwards, “publishing was . . . an entirely partisan affair.” His massive compendium, Gangraena (1646), aroused more than twenty published responses in the year following its publication and significantly contributed not only “to Presbyterian ...
Chapter 7: Pageant and Anti-Pageant
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George Witherley was apparently among the first to see them in silent procession that autumn afternoon late in October 1656. While the townsfolk of Bedminster in western England were scurrying indoors to avoid being soaked by the deluge that poured from the heavens, Witherley
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Limits, in Milton’s great epic, cannot be conceived without their transgression. The preceding chapters have tried to demonstrate, however, that Milton’s vibrant and sustained thinking, reading, and writing about the Incarnation drive the threshold of those limits nearly to the edge ...
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Page Count: 386
Publication Year: 2012