• Erin Murphy
  • Catharine Gray
Part of the Early Modern Cultural Studies book series (EMCSS)


In the preface to their 1987 collection, Re-membering Milton: Essays on the Texts and Traditions, Mary Nyquist and Margaret Ferguson critiqued the modernist vision of The Living Milton offered by Frank Kermode’s 1965 volume of essays, replacing the organic image of the author as a “living poet” with a constructivist one emphasizing “that the figure of Milton the author is itself the product of a certain self-construction; and that signs of motivated self-constitution can be seen even more clearly in the various critical and cultural traditions in which Milton enjoys an afterlife.”1 Despite their poststructuralist skepticism about the term “living,” Nyquist and Ferguson’s volume is characterized by an intellectual liveliness, as the editors are joined by a group of scholars reveling in the density and complexity of their theoretically informed and, often, politically engaged readings of Milton. From their opening assurances that their volume “does not intend any ritual dismemberment,” in which they play with the image of themselves as castrating women, to their characterization of their volume’s contributors as outsiders to an academic community too often committed to representing Milton as the ultimate “educated, white and phallocratic elite” insider, Nyquist and Ferguson introduced Re-membering Milton with a rollicking proclamation of a kind of activist and interventionist scholarship, one that grounded itself in a deep theoretical and historical sophistication (xii, xv).


Historical Moment Historicist Method Queer Theory Woman Writer Paradise Lost 
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  1. 1.
    Re-membering Milton: Essays on the Texts and Traditions, ed. Mary Nyquist and Margaret W. Ferguson (New York and London: Methuen, 1987), xii. All subsequent references to this collection will be cited parenthetically in the text by page number.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
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© Catharine Gray and Erin Murphy 2014

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  • Erin Murphy
  • Catharine Gray

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