Queer Milton pp 255-291 | Cite as

Milton’s Queer Earth: A Geology of Exhausted Life

  • Steven Swarbrick
Part of the Early Modern Cultural Studies 1500–1700 book series (EMCSS)


Steven Swarbrick’s “Milton’s Queer Earth: A Geology of Exhausted Life” cites recent developments in ecocritical and queer political projects as grounds for reimagining the queerness of Milton’s earth. Noting related turns in theory toward nonlife and the inhuman, Swarbrick proposes to read Book 6 of Paradise Lost as an archive of nature’s pre-human past. More specifically, Swarbrick links the exhaustion of certain epic tropes in the book’s battle to the exhaustion of bodies and images, and the exhaustion of the earth. What emerges from this reading is a queer ethical practice opposed to geontological distinctions between human and nonhuman timescales. This geology of exhausted life reorients the reader toward the deep history of inhuman affect in the creation and duration of Milton’s queer earth.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven Swarbrick
    • 1
  1. 1.Baruch College, The City University of New York (CUNY)New YorkUSA

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