Milton, Evil and Literary History

December 3, 2020
Milton, Evil and Literary History

Milton, Evil and Literary History addresses the ways in which weread literary history according to quite specific images of growth,development, progression, flourishing and succession.? Goodness hasalways been aligned with a life of expansion, creation, productionand fruition, while evil is associated with the inert,non-relational, static and stagnant.? These associations have alsounderpinned a distinction between good and evil notions ofcapitalism, where good exchange enables agents to enhance theirliving potential and is contrasted with the evils of a capitalistsystem that circulates without any reference to life or spirit.?Such images of a ghostly and technical economy divorced fromanimating origin are both central to Milton's theology and poetryand to the theories of literary history through which Milton isread.? Regarded as a radical precursor to Romanticism, Milton'spoetry supposedly requires the release of his radical spiritualcontent from the fetters of received orthodoxy. This literary andhistorical imagery of releasing the radical spirit of a text fromthe dead weight of received tradition is, this book argues, thedominant doxa of historicism and one which a counter-reading ofMilton ought to question.