Scholarly Milton

BookScholarly Milton

Scholarly Milton

Clemson University Press


March 20th, 2019

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Following the editors’ introduction to the collection, the essays in Scholarly Milton examine the nature of Milton’s own formidable scholarship and its implications for his prose and poetry–“scholarly Milton” the writer–as well as subsequent scholars’ historical and theoretical framing of Milton studies as an object of scholarly attention–“scholarly Milton” as at first an emergent and later an established academic discipline. The essays are particularly concerned with the topics of the ethical ends of learning, of Milton’s attention to the trivium within the Renaissance humanist educational system, and the development of scholarly commentary on Milton’s writings. Originally selected from the best essays presented at the 2015 Conference on John Milton in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, the essays have been considerably revised and expanded for publication.


'"Scholarly Milton" remains an ongoing, transformative, intellectual, and bookish industry, showcasing the expansiveness of his learning and that of Miltonists who reap and contribute to the pages and rewards thereof. And here, the exercise of converting presentations, specifically those delivered at the final Conference on John Milton at Murfreesboro, into fully developed essays has paid off substantially in the communal production of Scholarly Milton.'
Elizabeth Sauer, Modern Philology

'In the impressive lead essay, Achinstein asserts that in the tracts, Milton’s practice of the Erasmian humanist philosophical tradition mitigates the limitations imposed ‘by the hermeneutic principles of biblical interpretation as sola scriptura’. These essays are of consistent high quality, and I cheerfully recommend the volume overall.' David V. Urban, The Year's Work in English Studies

Author Information

Thomas Festa is Professor of English at the State University of New York, New Paltz. He is the author of The End of Learning: Milton and Education (2006) and some two dozen scholarly articles as well as co-editor of the award-winning feminist teaching anthology, Early Modern Women on the Fall (2012), and two previous essay collections dedicated to Milton’s works, Milton, Materialism, and Embodiment (2017) and Scholarly Milton (2019). KEVIN J. DONOVAN, Professor of English at Middle Tennessee State University, co-directed with Charles W. Durham and Kristin A. Pruitt the biennial Conference on John Milton from 1991 to 2015. With Thomas Festa he co-edited Milton, Materialism, and Embodiment (Duquesne UP, 2017). He also wrote the Survey of Interpretive Criticism for the New Variorum Shakespeare King Lear, edited by Richard Knowles (forthcoming 2019, MLA) and is associate editor of the volume.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
I Milton and the Ethical Ends of Learning25
1. High Enterprise: Milton and the Genres of Scholarship in the Divorce Tracts27
2. Typology and Milton’s Masterplot49
3. The Devil as Teacher in Paradise Lost69
4. “The First and Wisest of Them All”: Paradise Regained and the Beginning of Thinking91
5. Learning, Love, and the Freedom of the Double Bind115
II Milton and the Trivium131
6. Revisiting Milton’s (Logical) God: Empson 2018133
7. God’s Grammar: Milton's Parsing of the Divine153
8. Raphael’s Peroratio in Paradise Lost: Balancing Rhetorical Passion in Virgil and Paul171
III Milton and Scholarly Commentary191
9. Euphrasy, Rue, Polysemy, and Repairing the Ruins193
10. Paradise Finding Aids217
11. Political Diplomacy, Personal Conviction, and the Fraught Nature of Milton’s Letters of State237