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Milton's AngelsThe Early-Modern Imagination$
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Joad Raymond

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199560509

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199560509.001.0001

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Can Angels Feign?

Can Angels Feign?

Chapter:
(p.207) 8 Can Angels Feign?
Source:
Milton's Angels
Author(s):

Raymond Joad

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199560509.003.0008

This chapter uses a close reading of connected passages in Paradise Lost to reassess the nature of Milton's angels and to assert the value of associating imaginative angels with theology and natural philosophy. In contrast to Heywood's and Hutchinson's, there is a peculiar intensity in Milton's representation of angels. This is in part because of his strong view of accommodation, and in part because of his inspiration. The discussion here also offers and rejects a species of historicist reading that used Milton's political life as a key for understanding Abdiel's actions. The answer to whether Milton can represent an unfallen angel feigning resides in theology and in poetry, together. In the integration of story and doctrine, one finds that Milton's engagement with his communicative environment, and his ability to absorb these materials and tell a story self-sufficient enough to speak angelology and poetry at the same time.

Keywords:   Abdiel's flight, angelology, Paradise Lost, unfallen angel

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