A Geographical Dictionary of Milton

A Geographical Dictionary of Milton

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A Geographical Dictionary of Milton

A Geographical Dictionary of Milton

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Excerpt

In the present work I endeavor to furnish the basis for an understanding of Milton's use of geography. He gave that subject an important place in his writings on education, and to it alone among the natural sciences he devoted a separate work -- A Brief History of Moscovia and of Other Less-known Countries Lying East- ward of Russia as Far as Cathay; this is geographical rather than historical in the present sense of the word. In the poetry of Milton geography is rivaled in importance by none of the sciences except astronomy. Hence, a knowledge of Milton's geography is necessary to a full appreciation of his work.

In a monograph originally intended as an introduction to this Dictionary, and now complete in manuscript, I have treated various matters relating to the poet's use of geography, such as the sources of his knowledge of the subject, his theory of its value in education, the function of place-names in his verse, and the cosmography of Paradise Lost. The publication of that work at the present time seems inadvisable; yet I hope without too long delay to publish it in a separate volume.

In the Geographical Dictionary now presented, I have given in alphabetic order the place-names in Milton's prose and poetry (except the addresses of the Letters of State and the Biblical quotations in De Doctrina Christiana), and have endeavored so to explain these names, especially those occurring in the verse, as to reveal something of what they meant to the poet himself. To this end, I have drawn the quotations, so far as possible, from books he actually read. When this has been impossible, I have quoted from representative books accessible to him.

Approximately the first half of the Dictionary was accepted as a doctoral dissertation by the Graduate Faculty of Cornell University in the year 1912. The subject was suggested by Professor Lane Cooper, of that faculty, and the work was done under his supervision; I wish to record here my gratitude for his assistance and encouragement. I desire also to thank the . . .

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