The Classical Mythology of Milton's English Poems

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Fb&c Limited, Jun 12, 2015 - Social Science - 201 pages
Excerpt from The Classical Mythology of Milton's English Poems

The student who diligently peruses the lines of a great poem may go far toward a realization of its character. He may appreciate, in a degree, its loveliness, strength, and direct hold upon the catholic truth of life. But he will be more sensitive to these appeals, and receive gifts that are richer and less perishable, according as he comprehends the forces by whose interaction the poem was produced. These are of two kinds - the innate forces of the poet's character, and certain more external forces, such as, in the case of Milton, are represented by Hellenism and Hebraism. Their activity is greatest where they meet and touch, and at this point their nature and measure are most easily discerned. From a contemplation of the poem in its genesis one returns to a deeper understanding and enjoyment of it as a completed whole. The present study, though it deals with but one of the important cultural influences affecting Milton, and with it but in part, endeavors by this method to deepen and clarify the appreciation of his art and teaching.

My interest in the present work has found support and encouragement in the opinions of Mr. Churton Collins, as expressed in his valuable book, The Study of English Literature. The particular subject was suggested by Miss Alice Sawtelle's study of the sources of Spenser's Mythology, which has served also as a helpful model. What is here printed as the second part was submitted as a doctoral thesis to the Philosophical Faculty of Yale University.

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