Cover: Milton's Theatrical Epic: The Invention and Design of <i>Paradise Lost</i>, from Harvard University PressCover: Milton's Theatrical Epic in E-DITION

Milton's Theatrical Epic

The Invention and Design of Paradise Lost

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Product Details


$65.00 • £54.95 • €60.00

ISBN 9780674331570

Publication Date: 05/09/1980

161 pages


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In this analysis of Milton’s artistry as an epic poet, John G. Demaray offers a fresh perspective on one of the world’s great epic poems.

Placing Paradise Lost against the background of Renaissance theatrical and literary forms—pageants, Baroque spectacles, masques, musical dramas, and Continental heroic works—Demaray reveals the poem as a theatrical epic incorporating heroic conventions, theological materials, and elements of visual pageantry. He examines Milton’s early experiments in prophetic verse and theatrical forms, the poet’s exposure to Italian theater and art during travels in 1638–39, and the influence of Continental and British works upon evolving drafts of Paradise Lost. He then analyzes the text as theatrical and epic narrative, focusing on the realm of Hell and its Archfiend, Adam and Eve in their marriage bower, Heaven and its Godhead, and the pageant of Adam’s Fall. He relates the epic in new ways to the writings of Jonson, Dryden, and others.

Readers interested in seventeenth-century literature, Renaissance and Baroque theater, the epic, religious writings, and the creative processes of Milton’s imagination will all find many original insights in this fine book.

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To celebrate Pride Month, we are highlighting excerpts from books that explore the lives and experiences of the LGBT+ community. Nathaniel Frank’s Awakening: How Gays and Lesbians Brought Marriage Equality to America tells the dramatic story of the struggle for same-sex couples to legally marry, something that is now taken for granted. Below, he describes the beginnings of the gay rights movement. For homophiles of the 1950s, identifying as gay was almost always a risky and radical act