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Look Inside Milton and the Natural World

Milton and the Natural World
Science and Poetry in Paradise Lost


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

£ 25.99

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About the Authors
  • Milton and the Natural World overturns prevailing critical assumptions by offering a fresh view of Paradise Lost, in which the representation of Eden's plants and animals is shown to be fully cognizant of the century's new, scientific natural history. The fabulous lore of the old science is wittily debunked, and 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. Karen Edwards argues that Milton has represented the natural world in Paradise Lost, with its flowers and trees, insects and beasts, as a text alive with meaning and worthy of close reading.

    • 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

    'Full of quirky detail and careful research … one does not have to agree with every reading to appreciate the importance of intelligent questioning to the future of Milton studies, and it is high praise to say that Edwards succeeds in giving us a fresh appreciation of Paradise Lost.' Margaret Kean, The Times Literary Supplement

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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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