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Milton and the Idea of the Fall


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  • Date Published: September 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521120166

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About the Authors
  • In Paradise Lost (1667), Milton produced the most magnificent poetic account ever written of the biblical Fall of man. In this wide-ranging study, William Poole presents a comprehensive analysis of the origin, evolution, and contemporary discussion of the Fall, and the way seventeenth-century authors, particularly Milton, represented it. Poole first examines the range and depth of early modern thought on the subject, then explains and evaluates the basis of the idea and the intellectual and theological controversies it inspired from early Christian times to Milton's own century. The second part of the book delves deeper into the development of Milton's own thought on the Fall, from the earliest of his poems, through his prose, to his mature epic. Poole distinguishes clearly for the first time the range and complexity of contemporary debates on the Fall of man, and offers many insights into the originality and sophistication of Milton's work.

    • An in-depth discussion of this crucial theme in Milton's work
    • Focuses on readings of Paradise Lost, but discusses all of Milton's oeuvre
    • Delves into the biblical, medieval, and seventeenth-century background of ideas of the Fall
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    • Winner of the James Holly Hanford Award for Distinguished Book from the Milton Society of America'

    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: '… thoroughly researched, well-written and often fascinating … Milton and the Idea of the Fall repays careful reading: it is rich, detailed and intelligent.' The Times Literary Supplement

    Review of the hardback: 'Milton and the Idea of the Fall offers a radical rereading of Milton that takes religion seriously without losing sight of the political stakes.' Modern Language Review

    Review of the hardback: 'Milton and the Idea of the Fall is one of those specialist books that open out to change not only the way we think about Milton, but also the way we conceive of the period.' Modern Language Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521120166
    • length: 256 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.38kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Fallen Culture:
    1. The fall
    2. Augustinianism
    3. The quarrel over original sin 1649–60
    4. The heterodox fall
    5. The fall in practice
    Part II. Milton:
    6. Towards Paradise Lost
    7. Paradise Lost I: the causality of primal wickedness
    8. Paradise Lost II: God, Eden, and man
    9. Paradise Lost III: creation and education
    10. Paradise Lost IV: fall and expulsion

  • Author

    William Poole, New College, Oxford


    • Winner of the James Holly Hanford Award for Distinguished Book from the Milton Society of America'

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