Queer Milton pp 139-151 | Cite as

“Fellowships of Joy”: Angelic Union in Paradise Lost

  • Stephen Guy-Bray
Part of the Early Modern Cultural Studies 1500–1700 book series (EMCSS)


In “‘Fellowships of Joy’: Angelic Union in Paradise Lost,” Stephen Guy-Bray emphasizes angelic sexuality’s close association with Renaissance discourses of sodomy and masculine friendship. Juxtaposing the poem’s description of celestial sodomy with the heterosexuality embodied first in the union of Satan and his daughter Sin and then in the prelapsarian connubial love of Adam and Eve, Guy-Bray argues that the former represents the poem’s paradigmatic sexuality. The highest form of relationship in Paradise Lost, the heavenly homoeroticism of angelic love reveals itself to be, in Guy-Bray’s words, “a non-reproductive and ultimately ungendered sexuality that we can only call queer.” Even in the context of marriage, human sexuality can only ever aspire to serve as an imperfect imitation of the perfect love consummated between Milton’s angels.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen Guy-Bray
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of English Language and LiteraturesUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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