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Look Inside Milton and the Natural World

Milton and the Natural World
Science and Poetry in Paradise Lost

$36.99 (C)

  • Date Published: July 2005
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521017480

$ 36.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Karen Edwards offers a fresh view of Paradise Lost, in which Milton is shown to represent Eden's plants and animals in the light of the century's new, scientific natural history. Debunking the fabulous lore of the old science, the poem embraces new imaginative and symbolic possibilities for depicting the natural world, suggested by the speculations of Milton's scientific contemporaries including Robert Boyle, Thomas Browne and John Evelyn. The natural world in Paradise Lost, with its flowers and trees, insects and beasts, emerges as a text alive with meaning.

    • Brings together poetic reading and the history of science, illuminating Milton's writing with an understanding of the contemporary scientific context, with an original emphasis on natural history
    • Considers poetic representation of the natural world in relation to visual depictions in the natural histories of the time, with 18 illustrations from 17th-century texts
    • Aligns the methods of 17th-century science - a new way of knowing the world - with those of reading; Milton's Eden, like the poem itself, becomes a text full of meaning, worthy of close reading
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "This is an important book, full of new scholarly information and cherished ideas...beautifully written, too, with fresh ideas vividly expressed on every page." Renaissance Quarterly

    "Edwards' writing is fresh, witty, clean, neat, unencumbered by jargon....Her interpretations are rarely arguable, they are so well-built. Her book will certainly change the mind and the attitude of any intelligent reader. It is one of those quiet books that change the way we think forever after." Milton Quarterly

    "[Edwards's] lucid, accessible summary of 17th-century scientific literature is exhaustive....[Edwards] demonstrates in this volume a clear grasp of 17th-century science and culture and effectively integrates Milton's work into that milieu. This title complements other studies that integrate societal and cultural influences with literature..." Choice

    "Milton and the Natural World is a "must" for all Miltonists. It sends us back to Paradise Lost with renewed interest and greater knowledge, ready for deeper appreciationand debate. Karen Edwards is to be congratulated, as is Cambridge University Press, for publishing such a handsome volume, with delightful contemporary illustrations..." Sixteenth Century Journal

    "Karen L. Edwards's revisionist account of John Milton's relation to seventeenth-century science retells an old story in an important new way that has significant implications for seventeenth-century scholars, historians of science, and students of Paradise Lost alike...Edwards's work is as refreshing as it is important." Modern Philology

    "With her well-informed and sensitive understanding of the way Milton and his scientific contemporaries read the book of nature, Edwards could refute the most outrageous charges against early scientists at the level those arguments operate." Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2005
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521017480
    • length: 280 pages
    • dimensions: 234 x 158 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.4kg
    • contains: 18 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Re-reading the Book of the World:
    1. Corrupting experience: Satan and Eve
    2. Experimentalists and the book of the world
    3. The place of experimental reading
    Part II. Reforming Animals:
    4. Milton's complicated serpents
    5. New uses for monstrous lore
    6. From rarities to representatives
    7. Rehabilitating the political animal
    Part III. Transplanting the Garden. 8. Naming and not naming
    9. Botanical discretion
    10. Flourishing colors
    11. The balm of life

  • Author

    Karen L. Edwards, University of Exeter

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