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Paradise Lost and the Cosmological Revolution


  • Date Published: November 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107033603

£ 78.99

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About the Authors
  • This volume brings John Milton's Paradise Lost into dialogue with the challenges of cosmology and the world of Galileo, whom Milton met and admired: a universe encompassing space travel, an earth that participates vibrantly in the cosmic dance, and stars that are 'world[s] / Of destined habitation'. Milton's bold depiction of our universe as merely a small part of a larger multiverse allows the removal of hell from the center of the earth to a location in the primordial abyss. In this wide-ranging work, Dennis Danielson lucidly unfolds early modern cosmological debates, engaging not only Galileo but also Copernicus, Tycho, Kepler, and the English Copernicans, thus placing Milton at a rich crossroads of epic poetry and the history of science.

    • Includes lucid accounts of early modern developments in astronomy and cosmology
    • Places the characters, language, and plot of Paradise Lost amid the cosmological debates of Milton's day
    • Facilitates an understanding of the astronomical and cosmological fabric of Milton's epic
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Dennis Danielson's remarkable new book, Paradise Lost and the Cosmological Revolution, is a highly readable, lucid, and important account of the universes of Milton's epic poem in their historical context … Danielson offers his book as 'the full rescue mission' necessary for readers 'to relish the astonishing engagement of the plot, persons, and poetry of Paradise Lost with the Cosmos'. He succeeds famously, and along the way he demolishes the view of Milton as scientifically obscurantist or backward or as settling for an antiquated cosmology for poetic convenience. Milton emerges instead as an early master of informed science fiction.' Stephen M. Fallon, The Review of English Studies

    '… all serious students of Milton's poem will turn to Danielson's analysis as one of the top three or so most valuable labor-, time-, and mind-saving treatments of the topic.' Pamela Gossin, Journal for the History of Astronomy

    'Danielson enables us to appreciate just how rich and complex his knowledge of contemporary astronomy and cosmology really was.' Peter Barker, Milton Quarterly

    'Danielson's monograph will appeal mostly to those interested in contextual studies, especially the history of astronomy, but it contains some inspiring ideas for Miltonists too.' Šárka Tobrmanová, Notes and Queries

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2014
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107033603
    • length: 246 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 155 x 25 mm
    • weight: 0.5kg
    • contains: 23 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The discarded image
    2. Multiverse, chaos, and cosmos
    3. Copernicus and the cosmological bricoleurs
    4. Milton and Galileo revisited (1)
    5. Milton and Galileo revisited (2)
    6. The sun
    7. Planet Earth
    8. Space flight, ET, and other worlds.

  • Author

    Dennis Danielson, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
    Dennis Danielson is Professor of English at the University of British Columbia. He is also a member of the Milton Society of America and an associate member of the American Astronomical Society. Danielson's previous books include Milton's Good God: A Study in Literary Theodicy and The Cambridge Companion to Milton (1999).

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