Locating Milton

BookLocating Milton

Locating Milton

Places and Perspectives

Clemson University Press


November 15th, 2021



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Locating Milton:  Places and Perspectives collects nine previously unpublished essays that examine Milton’s works as the product of his unique intellectual experiences at home and abroad, while also tracing the ways in which those works themselves express the influence of his travel, his reading, and his political engagement. Following an interpretive introduction that seeks to locate Milton through his last surviving letter, the first group of essays examine how young Milton locates himself through his travels in Italy, how Milton’s early reading leads him to situate himself intellectually, and how the intellectual framework Milton generated remains pertinent to students and communities today. The second group calculates the impact of early modern mathematical and scientific models on Milton’s cosmology, demonstrating how Milton’s complex negotiations of such models give form and perspective to his greatest poetic works. The final group of essays locates Milton distinctly through his works’ global reception, ranging from the anonymous English poem Praeexistence, to Milton’s place in the “new world” and science fiction, to his presence as a figure inspiring political resistance in communist Hungary.


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). David Ainsworth is Associate Professor of English and a faculty member in the Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies at the University of Alabama. His most recent project, Milton, Music and Literary Interpretation, constructs a methodology for reading Milton’s works through musical concepts, while arguing that Milton himself uses musical metaphors to capture the ineffable characteristics of the divine.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
List of Figures7
Locating Milton: An Introduction11
I. Milton at Home and Abroad at Once27
1. John Milton’s Night at the Opera29
2. Studied for Action: Milton’s Bookscape and Communes Loci47
3. “Milton for Mississippi”: A New Call for Public Intellectuals—Or Some Better Term69
II. Milton’s Mathematical Models89
4. “Gabriel’s Trumpet”: Milton and Seventeenth-Century Conceptualizations of Infinity91
5. Mathematical Milton: Number Theory and Nesting Infinities in Paradise Lost111
6. When Milton “Comes to Model Heav’n”: Experimenting with Scientific Genre and Diagram in Paradise Lost135
III. Milton’s Multitudinous Returns157
7. Giving Laws to Milton’s God: Præexistence (1714) as Revision of Paradise Lost159
8. Samson: An Unlikely Hero of Socialism179