Poems in Their Place: The Intertextuality and Order of Poetic Collections

By Neil Fraistat | Go to book overview
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said, "see only as far as the old dispensation allows them to see."53 Jesus, Milton, and Milton's audiences (both contemporary with the poet and now) see further--and beyond. That is finally where such a poetic leads: each poem has its own integrity but also looks beyond itself, while the poems collectively and simultaneously impress themselves upon human consciousness, which they stretch, and press upon human history, which they would salvage.


This essay was completed during a research leave provided by the Graduate School of the University of Maryland. All citations of Milton's poetry are given parenthetically within the text and, unless otherwise indicated, are (for the poetry) to The Works of John Milton, ed. Frank Allen Patterson, 18 vols. ( New York: Columbia University Press, 1931-38) and (for the prose) to Complete Prose Works of John Milton, ed. Don M. Wolfe et al., 8 vols. ( New Haven: Yale University Press, and London: Oxford University Press, 1953-83). For Milton's last poems, I have used the standard abbreviations: PL (Paradise Lost), PR (Paradise Regained), SA (Samson Agonistes). The title of my essay derives from Hilaire Belloc Milton ( Philadelphia: J. B. Lippencott, 1935), p. 280.

Balachandra Rajan, "To Which Is Added Samson Agonistes," in The Prison and the Pinnacle: Papers to Commemorate the Tercentenary of "Paradise Regained" and "Samson Agonistes", ed. Balachandra Rajan ( London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1973), p. 96. The epigraph for this essay derives from Shawcross piece, "The Genres of Paradise Regain'd and Samson Agonistes: The Wisdom of Their Joint Publication," in Composite Orders: The Genres of Milton's Last Poems, ed. Richard S. Ide and Joseph Wittreich ( Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1983), p. 240.
See A. S. P. Woodhouse The Heavenly Muse: A Preface to Milton, ed. Hugh MacCallum ( Toronto and Buffalo: University of Toronto Press, 1972), p. 293, and William Riley Parker's Milton: A Biography, 2 vols. ( Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969), 2:909.
Jonathan Culler, The Pursuit of Signs: Semiotics, Literature, Deconstruction ( 1981; rpt. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1983), p. 118.
See Christopher Hill, The Collected Essays of Christopher Hill: Writing and Revolution in Seventeenth-Century England ( Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1985), pp. 32-71, and Annabel Patterson Censorship and Interpretation: The Conditions of Writing and Reading in Early Modern England ( Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1984), pp. 44-119.
William A. Oram, "Nature, Poetry, and Milton's Genii," in Milton and the Art of Sacred Song, ed. J. Max Patrick and Roger H. Sundell ( Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1979), p. 48. The fullest discussions of these early poetic volumes and of the crucial place of Lycidas in them are provided by Louis L. Martz, Poet of Exile: A Study of Milton's Poetry ( New Haven: Yale University Press, 1980), pp. 31-59; Raymond B.


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Poems in Their Place: The Intertextuality and Order of Poetic Collections


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