Mapping milton's multiverse: paradise lost and the poetics of creation

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Publication Type dissertation
School or College College of Humanities
Department English
Author Wall, Spencer Kenneth
Title Mapping milton's multiverse: paradise lost and the poetics of creation
Date 2015-05
Description Milton represents the cosmos of Paradise Lost as an analog to the world views of his time, but also as literal poetic material-text on a page, and the corresponding oral recitation of such text. By representing cosmological space as poetic work, Milton demonstrates the role of human creativity in constructing cosmological knowledge. Milton's presentation of creativity thus informs not only our understanding of early modern cosmology but cosmological theory more widely (Paradise Lost resonates surprisingly with very recent cosmological science). In Paradise Lost, creativity is portrayed as a messy, collaborative process that gives rise to a corresponding web or ""multiverse"" (to crib a term from contemporary physics) of shared and competing worlds. Part I of my dissertation consists of one chapter that addresses the relationship between chaos and cosmology in Paradise Lost and describes a kind or degree of chaos present in all aspects and spheres of the poem's worlds. Part II consists of two chapters about the relevance of historical context to the cosmology of Milton's poem. Both the astronomy and the geography of Milton's time presented an openness to revision akin to the chaos portrayed in Paradise Lost. Part III consists of two chapters about the poetic representation and structure of the space in Paradise Lost. In the first of these (Chapter 4), I introduce the idea of poetically creating a universe by teasing out the relationship between Milton's text and poetic sound. Milton's Chaos (the nature and disposition of which has been hotly debated by Milton critics) is a meta-poetic realm of unorganized sound. The devils' capitol Pandemonium (which nearly all critics read as a negative presentation of values adverse to Milton's own) is in fact the poem's clearest representation of the work poetry does with sound to build cosmological space. My final chapter (Chapter 5) situates such poetic work in connection with the role of Milton's human characters in making their world; their participation in God's creative work. I argue that Virgil's Georgics provides something of an inspirational influence, something of an interpretive framework for the regenerative work of Adam, Eve and Milton in Paradise Lost.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Chaos; Cosmology; John Milton; Paradise Lost; Renaissance epic
Dissertation Institution University of Utah
Dissertation Name Doctor of Philosophy
Language eng
Rights Management Copyright © Spencer Kenneth Wall 2015
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 4,325,021 Bytes
Identifier etd3/id/3749
ARK ark:/87278/s6k10ck9
Setname ir_etd
Date Created 2016-02-29
Date Modified 2018-04-16
ID 197300
Reference URL