Advertisement

Introduction

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

Abstract

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).

Keywords

Historical Moment Historicist Method Queer Theory Woman Writer Paradise Lost 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  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.
    For instance, see Regina Schwartz, Remembering and Repeating: On Milton’s Theology and Poetics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993);Google Scholar
  3. Linda Gregerson, The Reformation of the Subject: Spenser, Milton, and the English Protestant Epic (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995);CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. John P. Rumrich, Milton Unbound: Controversy and Reinterpretation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996);CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. and Gordon Teskey, Delirious Milton: The Fate of the Poet in Modernity (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006). For scholars drawing on postcolonial theory, see note 42. For the developing ecocriticism, see Diane McColley, Ken Hiltner, Jeffrey Theis, and Wendy Furman Adams. On the materiality of the book, see Leah Marcus and Stephen Dobranski. For work on gender and sexuality, see notes 14 through 16. There has been important work on Milton and science by Denise Albanese, Joanna Picciotto, and John Rogers. On philosophy, see Stanford Budick, Stephen Fallon, and Victoria Silver; on economics, see Blair Hoxby and David Hawkes; on the visual arts, see Diane McColley and Wendy Furman Adams. Work on Milton and religion has always been rich, but has recently been broadened by the scholarship of Achsah Guibbory, David Loewenstein, and Jeffrey Shoulson, as well as the collections Milton and Toleration, edited by Sharon Achinstein and Elizabeth Sauer (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. and Milton and the Jews, edited by Douglas Brooks (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012).Google Scholar
  7. 3.
    Balachandra Rajan, “Milton Encompassed,” Milton Quarterly 32.3 (1998): 86–89. Also see page 65 inCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Milton and the Climates of Reading: Essays by Balachandra Rajan, ed. Elizabeth Sauer (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006).Google Scholar
  9. 4.
    Paul Stevens, “Milton in America,” University of Toronto Quarterly 77.2 (2008): 789–800; 790.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 5.
    The Complete Prose Works of John Milton, vol 2, ed. Don M. Wolfe (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1966), 557–58.Google Scholar
  11. 7.
    Marshall Grossman, “Teskey’s Delirious Milton: A Review Essay,” Milton Quarterly 41.1 (2007): 32–39; 33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 8.
    For essays on the temporalities of Paradise Lost, see, for example, Blair Hoxby, “Milton’s Steps in Time,” SEL 38 (1998): 149–72;Google Scholar
  13. Amy Boesky, “Paradise Lost and the Multiplicity of Time,” in A Companion to Milton, ed. Thomas Corns (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2001);Google Scholar
  14. Anthony Welch, “Reconsidering Chronology in Paradise Lost,” Milton Studies 41 (2002): 1–17;Google Scholar
  15. and Judith Herz, “Meanwhile: (un)making time in Paradise Lost,” in The New Milton Criticism, ed. Peter C. Herman and Elizabeth Sauer (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 85–101. On millennial and apocalyptic ideas,CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. see Milton and the Ends of Time, ed. Juliet Cummins (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003). On terrorism, see the debate about Samson Agonistes, includingGoogle Scholar
  17. John Carey’s “A Work in Praise of Terrorism? September 11 and Samson Agonistes,” in Times Literary Supplement (September 6, 2002), 15–16Google Scholar
  18. and David Loewenstein’s “Samson Agonistes and the Culture of Religious Terror,” in Milton in the Age of Fish: Essays on Authorship, Text and Terrorism, ed. Michael Lieb and Albert Labriola (Pittsburgh: Dusquesne University Press, 2006), 203–28. Also seeGoogle Scholar
  19. Feisal Mohamed’s contribution, “Reading Samson in the New American Century,” Milton Studies 46 (2007): 149–64 and Milton and the Post-Secular Present: Ethics, Politics, Terrorism (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2011). For Milton’s currency,Google Scholar
  20. see Milton in Popular Culture, ed. Laura Lunger Knoppers and Gregory M. Colon Semenza (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006).Google Scholar
  21. 11.
    See Milton and the Terms of Liberty, ed. Graham Parry and Joad Raymond (Cambridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2002).Google Scholar
  22. 12.
    Marilyn Farwell, review of Re-membering Milton, Comparative Literature 44.1 (1992): 97–101; 100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 14.
    Milton and the Idea of Woman, ed. Julia Walker (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1988). As gender studies has been one of the most vibrant parts of the field, we can only give a partial list of those who have helped broaden the discussion. They include Sharon Achinstein, Joan Bennett, Ann Baynes Coiro, Amy Boesky, Lana Cable, Stevie Davies, Wendy Furman-Adams, Marshall Grossman, Achsah Guibbory, Dayton Haskin, Gina Hausknecht, Matthew Jordan, Laura Knoppers, Kent Lehnoff, Barbara Lewalski, Thomas Luxon, Leah Marcus, Shannon Miller, Su Fang Ng, John Rogers, Elizabeth Sauer, Kathryn Schwarz, Louis Schwartz, Jeffrey Shoulson, William Shullenberger, Margaret Olofson Thickstun, James Graham Turner, Rachel Trubowitz, Julia Walker, Joseph Wittreich, and Susanne Wood. For the most sustained intervention on this subject since Milton and the Idea of Woman,Google Scholar
  24. see Milton and Gender, ed. Catharine Gimelli Martin (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004).Google Scholar
  25. Gregory Bredbeck’s Sodomy and Interpretation: Marlowe to Milton (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1991);Google Scholar
  26. and Lee Edelman’s Homographesh (New York: Routledge, 1994). Since then,Google Scholar
  27. John Shawcross, “Milton’s Paradise Regain’d and the Second Temptation,” ANQ 21 (2008): 34–41;Google Scholar
  28. Claude J. Summers, “The (Homo)sexual Temptation in Milton’s Paradise Regain’d” in Reclaiming the Sacred: The Bible in Gay and Lesbian Culture, ed. Raymond-Jean Frontain (New York: Haworth, 1997), 45–69;Google Scholar
  29. John Rumrich, “The Milton-Diodati Correspondence,” Hellas: A Journal of Poetry and the Humanities 3 (1992): 76–85;Google Scholar
  30. Greg Chaplin, “‘One Flesh, One Heart, One Soul’: Renaissance Friendship and Miltonic Marriage,” Modern Philology 99 (2001): 266–92; andCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Thomas Luxon, Single Imperfection: Milton, Marriage and Friendship (Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 2005), attend to male homoeroticism in Milton’s work, often by beginning with the writer’s relationship with Charles Diodati, though not claiming a queer theoretical approach. More recently, a handful of critics, includingGoogle Scholar
  32. Bruce Boehrer, “‘Lycidas’: The Pastoral Elegy as Same-Sex Epithalamium,” PMLA 117.2 (2002): 222–36;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Jonathan Goldberg, The Seeds of Things: Theorizing Sexuality and Materiality in Renaissance Representations (New York: Fordham University Press, 2009);CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Stephen Guy-Bray, Against Reproduction: Where Renaissance Texts Come From (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2009); andGoogle Scholar
  35. Melissa Sanchez, Erotic Subjects: The Sexuality of Politics in Early Modern English Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), have shown queer theory’s relevance to Milton’s engagements with genre, materiality, authorship, and even state politics. A very recently published special issue of Early Modern Culture on “Queer Milton,” coedited by Will Stockton and David L. Orvis, expands these conversations (Early Modern Culture: An Electronic Seminar 10 [2014]). Unfortunately, this came out too close to Milton Now’s publication for us to incorporate its insights though we applaud its goal of expanding the study of Milton both to more subjects and a wider circle of critics.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 16.
    See Kent R Lehnhof, “Performing Masculinity in Paradise Lost,” Milton Studies 50 (2009): 64–77Google Scholar
  37. and Leah Marcus, “Milton among Women,” Milton Studies 51 (2010): 45–62.Google Scholar
  38. 17.
    On Milton’s relevance, see, for example, the 2005 issue of Milton Studies “Why Milton Matters,” Joseph Wittreich’s Why Milton Matters? A New Preface to His Writings (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006) and Nigel Smith’s Is Milton Better Than Shakespeare? (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008). For other scholars who reflect on Milton studies’ own past, see below, notes 19 and 20.Google Scholar
  39. 19.
    See, for example, John West, “New Directions in Recent Milton Criticism,” Literature Compass 6.3 (2009): 693–705; the introduction and essays collected in Peter Herman and Elizabeth Sauer’s The New Milton Criticism;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. and John Shawcross’s Rethinking Milton Studies: Time Present and Time Past (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2005). A sense of Milton criticism’s current “methodological uncertainty” and/or calls for change appear in all three (West, 694).Google Scholar
  41. 20.
    Balachandra Rajan, Milton and the Climates of Reading: Essays by Balachandra Rajan (University of Toronto Press: Toronto, 2006): Milton in America, ed. Paul Stevens and Patricia Simmons, University of Toronto Quarterly 77.3 (2008); Albert Labriola’s Milton Studies issue on Milton in History;Google Scholar
  42. Mohamed and Nyquist’s Milton and Questions of History (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012);Google Scholar
  43. Ann Baynes Coiro and Thomas Fulton’s Rethinking Historicism from Shakespeare to Milton (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 25.
    The quote is Marjorie Levinson’s, 560. See her “What Is New Formalism?” PMLA 122.2 (2007): 558–69. On the problem of the routinization of historicism, see Paul Stevens, “Intolerance and the Virtues of Sacred Violence,” in Milton and Toleration, ed. Sharon Achenstein and Elizabeth Sauer (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 243–46. For a critique of “surface reading” that evokes Milton,CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. see Crystal Bartolovich’s “Humanities of Scale: Marxism, Surface Reading—and Milton,” in PMLA 127.1 (2012): 115–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 30.
    Achinstein, “Cold War Milton,” University of Toronto Quarterly 77.3 (2008): 801–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 34.
    Laura Lunger Knoppers, Historicizing Milton: Spectacle, Power, and Poetry in Restoration England (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1994).Google Scholar
  48. 36.
    Stanley Fish, “Why Milton Matters; or, Against Historicism,” Milton Studies 44 (2005): 1–12; 10.Google Scholar
  49. 42.
    The scholarship on Milton and these subjects is vast, but for representative work on empire, imperialism, and postcolonialism see J. Martin Evans, Walter Lim, David Quint, Balachandra Rajan, Elizabeth Sauer, Eric B. Song, and Paul Stevens; for an overview of scholarship on nationalism, see David Loewenstein and Paul Stevens’s crucial Early Modern Nationalism and Milton’s England (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2008), as well as the more recent works, Christian Identity, Jews, and Israel in Seventeenth-Century England (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010)Google Scholar
  50. by Achsah Guibbory and Nation and Nurture in Seventeenth-Century English Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012) by Trubowitz. For work on gender, see notes 14 and 16.Google Scholar
  51. 44.
    Grady and Hawkes, eds., Presentist Shakespeares (Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2007), 5. West notes the Samson controversy as a key site for presentist Miltonism. Mohamed’s contributions, however, mount a different political critique than that launched by presentists, by showing how an insistence on historical difference can aid conservative agendas.Google Scholar
  52. 45.
    Grady, Shakespeare, Machiavelli and Montaigne: Power and Subjectivity from Richard II to Hamlet (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 54.
    Frances Dolan, Marriage and Violence: The Early Modern Legacy (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008), 17.Google Scholar
  54. 56.
    Jonathan Goldberg and Madhavi Menon, “Queering History,” PMLA 120.5 (2005): 1608–17; 1609.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 61.
    Though material history has not been an important element of historicism in Milton studies, work on print culture (Stephen Dobranski’s Readers and Authorship in Early Modern England [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005] and Milton, Authorship, and the Book Trade [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999], as well as recent books on genderGoogle Scholar
  56. (Laura Knoppers’s Politicizing Domesticity from Henrietta Maria to Milton’s Eve [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011] andGoogle Scholar
  57. Louis Schwarz’s Milton and Maternal Mortality [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009]) are crucial exceptions.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. 64.
    Strier emphasizes the “new” in new historicism (to stress its rejection of old historicist methods) (208). “Afterword: How Formalism Became a Dirty Word, and Why We Can’t Do Without It,” in Renaissance Literature and Its Formal Engagements, ed. Mark David Rasmussen (New York: Palgrave, 2003), 207–16. Levinson (559) and Gallagher note the variety of formalist objects of attack. See Gallagher, “The Ends of History: Afterword” in a special issue of Victorian Studies, The Ends of History, 55.4 (2013): 683–91. The quotation is from Heather Love (375), though both she and Rita Felski criticize hermeneutics. Love, “Close but not Deep: Literary Ethics and the Descriptive Turn,” New Literary History 41.2 (2010): 371–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Felski, “Context Stinks!” New Literary History 42.4 (2011): 573–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. 68.
    See, for example, Robert Kaufman, “Everybody Hates Kant: Blakean Formalism and the Symmetries of Laura Moriarty,” Modern Language Quarterly 61.1 (2000): 131–55 and, in relation to the early modern period,CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Hugh Grady, Shakespeare and Impure Aesthetics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009) who both evoke Adorno. While Kaufman links Adorno to a rereading of Kantian aesthetics, Grady reads him alongside Walter Benjamin. As Levinson notes, Susan Wolfson’s rehabilitation of form, “which links the ‘politics of liberation’ to form” in the special issue on formalism she edits for Modern Language Quarterly, relies on “a veritable pantheon of Marxist critics” (567). Notable, in respect of the renewed attention to Marxist theorists and form, is the republication, in 2003, ofCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Tony Bennet’s 1979 Formalism and Marxism (London and New York: Routledge, 2003).Google Scholar
  63. 70.
    For recent formulations of form’s activist role, reflection on history, or breaks with ideology, sometimes influenced by Marxism, see Grady, Mitchell, and Kaufman. For recent engagements with new formalism in early modern studies that stress the continuing importance of history, see, for example, the collections Shakespeare and Historical Formalism, ed. Stephen Cohen (Adershot: Ashgate, 2007) and Renaissance Literature and Its Formal Engagements and, more recently,Google Scholar
  64. Elizabeth Scott-Baumann’s Forms of Engagement: Women, Poetry, and Culture, 1640–1680 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. 74.
    See Rethinking Secularism, ed. Craig Calhoun, Mark Juergensmeyer, and Jonathan Van Antwerpen (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001) andGoogle Scholar
  66. The Post-Secular in Question: Religion in Contemporary Society ed. Philip Gorski, David Kyuman Kim, John Torpey, and Jonathan Van Antwerpen (New York: New York University Press, 2012); particularly pertinent perhaps is Calhoun’s contribution to the latter, “Time, World, and Secularism,” 335–364.Google Scholar
  67. 76.
    Lynn Hunt, “The World We Have Gained: The Future of the French Revolution,” The American Historical Review 108.1 (February 2003): 1–19; 6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Catharine Gray and Erin Murphy 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erin Murphy
  • Catharine Gray

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations