David Quint’s elegant, learned, and nuanced study of Paradise Lost and its designs contains enormous riches. Admittedly, some of its larger claims may not surprise seasoned readers of the poem: for example, that Milton the Christian humanist poet subverts traditional epic subjects, notably warfare and empire, and rejects earthly military power, or that his great poem radically revises both the epic genre and biblical narrative. Nonetheless, Quint’s book makes an invaluable contribution to our understanding of the poem’s verbal design and the poet’s allusive imagination. It is a pleasure to read a critical book so sensitive to the rich poetic texture of Milton’s work. Thanks to his substantial knowledge of early modern European literature and classical reception, Quint offers a wealth of fresh readings of the poem’s allusions to classical and European epics, as well as to scriptural texts—not only to Homer,...
Inside “Paradise Lost”: Reading the Designs of Milton’s Epic
David Loewenstein is Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of English and the Humanities at Pennsylvania State University. His publications include Treacherous Faith: The Specter of Heresy in Early Modern English Literature and Culture (2013), John Milton, Prose: Major Writings on Liberty, Politics, Religion, and Education (editor, 2013), and Shakespeare and Early Modern Religion (coeditor, 2015). He is an Honored Scholar of the Milton Society of America.
David Loewenstein; Inside “Paradise Lost”: Reading the Designs of Milton’s Epic. Modern Language Quarterly 1 December 2015; 76 (4): 522–524. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00267929-3152855
Download citation file: