Sensuous Poetics and the Ethics of Confrontation
Miltonic Theories Of The Word
Milton's responses to the problems of Genesis were intensified by his active participation in the political and religious crisis of his age. His ‘mysterious’ and lofty sense of his own poetic mission kept him in contemplative isolation for most of his younger years, but in the l640s, impelled by reforming zeal and marital disaster, he committed his mind and his art to building a new social order and bringing about the restitution of all things. He was both poet and iconoclast, ‘casting down imaginations’ and destroying the false images of Royalism, while raising the regenerate imagination to new heights. This process is not suspended, but internalized and deepened, after his return to isolation in the 1660s; completing his epic in an increasingly secular age is itself an act of defiance.
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