What did it mean for a scientifically educated poet of the seventeenth century to have imagined extramundane "places" such as heaven and hell in a Copernican epic for which such places must have lost much of their traditional character and force, to say nothing of their location? Why indeed does Milton invest so much poetic capital in the notion of "place" at all when in the words of William Gilbert, "place is nothing, has no force, does not exist," or when for Descartes "place" had become a property of the perceiving subject rather than the attested object (res extensa)? This essay suggests that Milton counters the challenge of the "new philosophy" by rethinking the relation of "place" to "space" via a median term, "room," whereby place is elaborated in terms of the body rather than the mind, so anticipating a post-Kantian phenomenology in which "place" was eventually to be reintroduced to philosophy.


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pp. 27-57
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