Abstract

The dialogue between Adam and Raphael that fills the middle books of Paradise Lost closes with a dispute surrounding the value of the sense of touch, which the angel dismisses as too bestial to be valuable. Touch had long been dismissed in similar terms by Aristotle, Marcilius Ficino, and others, but I argue that the angel’s view should not be accepted as John Milton’s own. He explores in Eden the manifold forms that touch can take, acknowledging the potential of the sense to damage and perturb but also suggesting that its intermittent and habitual exercise is foundational to unfallen human experience.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6547
Print ISSN
0013-8304
Pages
pp. 1-31
Launched on MUSE
2012-03-08
Open Access
No
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