The Modernity of Milton: A Theological and Philosophical Interpretation

The Modernity of Milton: A Theological and Philosophical Interpretation

The Modernity of Milton: A Theological and Philosophical Interpretation

The Modernity of Milton: A Theological and Philosophical Interpretation

Excerpt

The Modernity of Milton is intended to fill the need I first felt when, as an undergraduate, I read Paradise Lost. I had, however, perused and partially comprehended this poem several years before that. But it was impossible for me to get beneath the surface of it, because much of what constitutes its content must necessarily be interpreted.

The point of view in the present book is that the vital thing in Milton is neither pretty imagery nor mere organ music; it assumes that the essential Milton can be comprehended and appreciated only by one who has some knowledge of his theological and philosophical thought, that is, by one who interests himself in what was most significant to the poet himself. In this criticism, it is unnecessary to deal extensively with source material; and quotations to present the author's thought --never to illustrate his style--will be frequent but brief. Those who have read Milton carefully will be able to judge whether the following interpretation is accurate and recondite; and this statement is especially true of such students as have, in addition, some knowledge of historical Christianity. To the reader or teacher of literature who is already familiar with Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, and Samson Agonistes, or even with Paradise Lost alone, the present work may prove a val-

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