Abstract

This essay argues that the similes of Paradise Lost undermine the construction of a visually and temporally solid experience and thus reform habits of perception and interpretation. Miltonic similes are preoccupied with illusory and unstable sights and with scenes of observation in which figures watch objects of mutable shapes and dimensions. These similes unsettle visual paradigms, expose discrepancies between perceived image and inferred mental reality, and detach the reader from cognitive schemes that carry a risk of moral fallacy. Perceived as a sequence, the similes codify an inward journey toward a spiritual landscape in which visual sight is superseded by a heightened moral perceptivity.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1522-9270
Print ISSN
0039-3657
Pages
pp. 157-178
Launched on MUSE
2013-04-04
Open Access
No
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