Reading the classics and Paradise lost
Milton’s early commentators—Henry Todd, Thomas Newton, Joseph Addison, and others—not only knew their classics well, they took them seriously as models of literary excellence and repositories of values. In the twentieth century, however, the classics have become mere “background.” As a consequence, William M. Porter argues, not only is the foundational dimension of Milton’s poetry now hardly visible, even to scholars, but the potential of Milton’s poetry to revitalize the reading of the classics has been diminished.
In this insightful study, Porter attempts once again to read both the classics and Milton’s epic poem sensitively and intelligently. He exposes the recklessly speculative and tendentious character of much earlier work on Milton’s allusions, in which allusions were promiscuously posited and in which Paradise Lost was too often regarded naively as triumphing over the classics. Porter demonstrates that Milton’s allusions, in which allusions to the classics, while fewer than has been supposed, are rich with wit, irony, and thought that can be grasped only by a reader with a double perspective.
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Lesser Forms of Literary
The Critical Allusion
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Achilles Adam Aeneas Aeneid allu alluding Anchises ancient angels animis caelestibus Augustus Biblical Blessington borrowing Caesar called Catullus chapter cites Classical Epic Club of Hercules commentary context critical allusion dactylic hexameter Descende caelo descent described Dido divine Dobson earlier earth echo edition English Ennius enthymeme especially example fact Georgics gods Greek Harding heaven Hell hermeneutic Hesiod hexameter Homer Horace Horace's Hume Iliad imitation important interpretation intertextual invocation John Milton Juno language Latin lines literary Lost's meaning Milton's allusions Milton's classicism Milton's poetry modern Muses narrative Neo-Latin notes Odes Odyssey original Orpheus Ovid pagan Paradise Lost parallel passage phrase poem poet poet's poetic proem prologue prose quoted reader reference reworking rhetorical Roman Sannazaro Satan says seems significant simile simply sion Spenser structure style suggests target Tartarus Theogony tion Tiresias titanomachy tradition translation Turnus twelve books verbal Vergil Vergilian verse words Zeus
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Fellowship in Paradise Lost: Vergil, Milton, Wordsworth, Volume 97
Limited preview - 1995