The introduction sets out the book’s main themes: a philosophical reading of Paradise Lost, in which the relationships between philosophy and literature, literature and religion, and religion and philosophy are examined. The book's guiding metaphor—an ascent—is explained. The introduction explains why previous routes by which philosophy and literature have been successfully connected before are less suitable for religious poetry. The book does not follow the “compensatory” model, in which literature overcomes limitations that hamper philosophy. Instead, the reading hopes to expose episodes of misalliance between philosophy and literature. Implications for interdisciplinarity are briefly discussed. The tensions between religion and literature in relation to beauty, knowledge, and the imagination are presented. Finally, some methodological clarifications are made.
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