International Milton Symposium - IMS12
17-21 June 2019, Palais Universitaire, Strasbourg
IMS12 CONFERENCE PROGRAMME
Thursday 20 June 2019
08h30-09h45: Panel sessions 7
(7a) Samson Agonistes (IV) - Chair: Tessie Prakas (Room 124)
Karen Clausen-Brown (Associate Professor, Walla Walla, Washington State, USA): “The Revels of Mount Dagon: Morton’s New English Canaan and Milton’s Samson Agonistes”
This paper reads Milton’s Samson Agonistes alongside the early American colonist Thomas Morton’s 1637 New English Canaan. Morton tells the story of how he set up a maypole at Ma-re Mount, led a raucous May Day celebration for the white settlers and Native Americans there, and so angered the Separatists at Plymouth Plantation that they cut down his maypole, arrested him, and began to call Ma-re Mount “Mount Dagon,” a moniker that cast Morton and his revelers as Philistines and themselves as Samson. Throughout Morton’s narrative, he subtly mocks the Separatists by implying that their hero Samson was weak; by comparing them to Job, who he describes as too patient and passive; and, ultimately, by suggesting that they are too dense to understand his mockery, which he suggests they need the riddle-solver Oedipus to interpret for them. Morton’s use of the stories of Samson, Job, and Oedipus within the context of disputes about may games and revels offers a helpful point of contrast with Milton’s own use of those stories in his drama. New England Canaan highlights how Milton’s drama not only argues against revels but also insists that the rejection of revels requires strength, action, and shrewdness.
Esther van Raamsdonk (Postdoctoral Researcher, Networking Archives, Queen Mary University, London, and University of Oxford, Oxford, G.-B.): “The Political Samson: Revolution in Milton’s Samson Agonistes and Joost van den Vondel’s Samson, of Heilige Wraak (Samson, or Holy Revenge, 1660)”
Both Vondel and Milton knew the terror of revolution, as England and the United Provinces strove to establish their political and religious identity in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Traces of this tumult mark their texts, with the justification of rebellion a frequent theme: how could the English in their Civil Wars and the Dutch with their revolt assert their right to challenge tyranny, when they were fighting rulers putatively divinely appointed?
This paper reads two texts based on the Samson narrative in parallel to draw out different aspects of this crucial discussion, often only obliquely present in the narrative. Both texts are occupied with the English Restoration, while at the same time echoing the violent past of the English and Dutch states. Samson’s narrative raises the same questions that were asked during the Dutch and English revolution, which makes it a perfect vehicle for the discussion of authority and rebellion.
Understanding these texts against a shared cultural background explains the specific power of using this biblical narrative to comment on contemporary political and religious issues, and the different arguments to which it could be harnessed. As well as demonstrating the value of a historicised and comparative reading across national and linguistic boundaries, this approach allows a finer analysis of the intertwining of politics, religion and culture of the period.
(7b) Paradise Regained (II) - Chair: Michiko Mori (Room 120)
Miklòs Péti (Associate Professor, Károli Gáspár University, Budapest, Hungary): “The Wrath of Satan and the Return of Jesus – Homeric Revisions in Paradise Regain’d”
Milton’s deep engagement with the Homeric epics in Paradise Lost has been amply documented from various perspectives. Paradise Regain’d, by contrast, has not fared so well on this front (either). Commentators duly note the obvious Homeric echoes and allusions in the four-book epic (in epic devices, imagery, etc.), but in recent criticism there seems to be no account of how Milton’s lifelong enthusiasm for the Iliad and the Odyssey (unambiguously detectable in his poetry as well as his prose) might have shaped this late work. The lack of such reflection might be due to critics conceiving of Paradise Regain’d as Milton’s ‘brief epic’ modelled on the Book of Job, or even claiming the work is generically sui generis, but Jesus’s outright rejection of ancient Greek poetry (Homeric poetry in particular) in favour of the “Law and Story strew'd / With Hymns” and the “Psalms with artful terms inscrib'd” (Paradise Regained 4.334–335) probably also contributed to this general neglect of possible Homeric influences. In service of a different understanding of the position of Paradise Regained in Milton’s oeuvre, in this paper I propose to reconsider the different ways in which the Iliad and the Odyssey might have inspired Milton’s last poem.
Deni Kasa (Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Tel Aviv, Israel): “Learning After Athens: Prophecy and Reason in Paradise Regained”
Most critics now agree that Paradise Regained promotes the republican politics that Milton defended throughout his life. However, Jesus’s rejection of Athenian learning complicates this reading. Does Jesus not reject human reason, and with it republicanism? Based on this evidence, some critics have argued that Jesus is an antinomian who promotes a “godly” republicanism ruled by self-declared saints.
I suggest that the representation of prophecy in Paradise Regained undercuts an antinomian reading of Jesus. In his prose, Milton defines Christian prophecy as a form of public preaching about the best way to apply scripture to a particular situation. Crucially, this kind prophecy is not limited to an antinomian spiritual elite. Rather, prophecy is a gift of grace that is (supposedly) offered to all Christians. Jesus in turn embodies this prophetic ideal in Paradise Regained, revealing how ordinary Christians might become “prophets” using reason enlightened by grace.
Yet Milton’s politics are not necessarily more inclusive. The boundary of exclusion is education, which is quite important for Jesus in his interpretations of scripture despite his rejection of Athens’s secular philosophy. If grace is what makes a prophet, in Paradise Regained grace is mediated by the rhetorical skill and learning that characterize Jesus.
(7c) Adam's Soliloquy in Paradise Lost - Chair: Michael Schoenfeldt (Room 113)
Manuel Cardenas (Doctoral candidate, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada): “Few Sometimes May Know”? Epistemological Solipsism in Paradise Lost”
The second scene of John Dryden’s stage adaptation of Paradise Lost begins with Adam’s first awakening: “What am I? or from whence? For that I am / I know, because I think” (State of Innocence II.i.1–2). Dryden’s decision to foreground questions of knowing within Adam’s discussion with God about solitude gives his drama a rare moment of consonance with Milton’s original. Yet the intrusion of the Cartesian cogito is less sure. Can Milton’s characters be profitably situated within the epistemological discourse of his contemporaries, as Dryden suggests? In this paper, I will consider Milton’s apprehension towards epistemological solitude in the epic, focusing especially on representations of solitary knowledge in the context of Descartes’ and Hobbes’ solipsists. The same writer who in Areopagitica envisioned a collective reassembling of the mangled body of Truth proclaims in Paradise Lost that “few sometimes may know, when thousands err” (6.148). Milton, I suggest, ultimately shares a Baconian skepticism of the lone seeker of knowledge. As his belief in the desirability of solitude waivers, so too does his faith in knowledge derived from a singular and thus potentially solipsistic perspective. In turn, his conception of knowledge begins to demand not only individuality, but community.
Bradley Fox (PhD, Instructor, CUNY, New York, USA): “‘In a troubled sea of passion tossed’: Adam, Hamlet, and Skepticism”
Adam’s soliloquy in book ten of Paradise Lost gives voice to skeptical notions about the nature of existence and the afterlife which are expressed first in the soliloquies of Shakespeare’s Prince Hamlet. By revisiting Hamlet’s doubts, Milton confronts the mounting philosophical skepticism of his own era in order that his poem may ultimately “justify the ways of God to men.” Hamlet’s first and fourth soliloquies inspire Adam’s Stoic and atheistic reflections upon existence, death, and the prospect of an afterlife. Having transgressed God’s prohibition, a fearful and despairing Adam becomes preoccupied with the same skeptical ideas, then, that preoccupy Hamlet: death as annihilation and death as a senseless sleep. Meanwhile, Hamlet’s second soliloquy contributes to Adam’s palpable self-loathing, a mentality which only fuels his bleak philosophy, much as it did Hamlet’s. Milton recognized long ago what modern scholars like Stephen Greenblatt and Rhodri Lewis have asserted more recently: that the tragedy Hamlet, and the prince’s soliloquies in particular, capture growing confusion and doubt regarding the Christian afterlife, and hence Christian faith. Through Adam’s soliloquy, Milton incorporates this skeptical perspective as a valid viewpoint endemic to our fallen world, but one which Adam surmounts in Milton’s epic through love and renewed faith.
(7d) Milton's Politics - Chair: Christopher Warren (Room 119)
Martin Dzelzainis (Professor, University of Leicester, G.-B.): “Milton, Lord Brooke, and the politics of exclusion”
According to Quentin Skinner and Philip Pettit, early-modern republicanism was predicated on a neo-roman distinction between freeman and slaves. But what about republicanism and actual slavery? This was not a question that ever arose in the republics – or, for that matter, democracies – of classical antiquity, where slavery was a background assumption unavailable for discussion. But what would an early-modern English republican, someone whose very identity supposedly rested on the self-understanding that he was a freeman as distinct from a slave, have to say about slavery as a social practice, especially when he was a participant in or beneficiary from the trade? Would he even be aware that something might need to be said? Such (to our way of thinking) cognitive dissonance has proved highly resistant to being rendered intelligible in the case of early-modern figures like John Locke. How might the task be approached in the case of Milton? The answer suggested here is that the key categories were ideas of manhood and virtue. Usually thought of as a means of identifying those qualified for citizenship, they could also be a way of delegitimating those who were deemed unfit – like the vulgar or slaves.
Adam Faircloth (Doctoral candidate, Penn State University, University-Park, Pennsylvania, USA): “Cypher Sovereignty, Milton & Hobbes on Sovereignty and the Rights of the Commonwealth”
In The Sleeping Sovereign (2016), Richard Tuck reminds us that the early modern history of intellectual thought, particularly in the person of Thomas Hobbes, continues to breathe life and political possibility into our current constitutional arrangements. And yet, the liberatory insights of Hobbes’s model of sovereign power—that the dead rule by virtue of prevailing political covenants and the tacit consent of the living—resists the enfranchising potential of a Miltonic rights discourse. John Milton’s conception of the political covenant (what he terms a voluntary covenant, between man and man) hinges on a single, non-negotiable item: sovereignty remains with the demos. It is not transferred to the sovereign or bureaucratically locked within the arrangements of constituted power as it is for Hobbes. For Milton, sovereignty remains an unequivocal and democratic right. It remains deposited within the elective polity whose task it is to delegate governmental function and authority. In the following paper, I make the case for how Milton’s vision of sovereignty—as much as that of Hobbes—continues to invigorate contemporary rights discourse and respond to looming global constitutional crises.
(7e) Screening of Pascale Bouhénic, "Gustave Doré, de l'illustrateur à l'artiste" (in French, Arte, 2014) (Room 112)
09h45-10h15: Coffee break (Lobby 1st floor, outside Rooms 118 and 119)
10h15-12h00: Plenary session IV by John Hale (Honorary Fellow, University of Otago, New Zealand): "Safe Belief: Hobbes, Milton, and Dryden", and Stephen M. Fallon (John J. Cavanaugh Professor of the Humanities, University of Notre Dame, Indiania, USA): "Milton, Newton, and the Making of a Modern World" - Chair: John Rumrich (Room 119)
12h00-14h00: Lunch break at "Le 32" - 32, Avenue de la Victoire, Strasbourg
14h00-15h45: Panel sessions 8
(8a) Samson Agonistes (V) - Chair: Seth Herbst (Room 124)
Jane Raisch (Assistant Professor in English Renaissance and Early Modern Literature, University of York, G.-B): "Resisting Aristotle in Samson Agonistes"
This paper will argue that Samson Agonistes offers a critique of Aristotelian tragic theory and its post facto attempt to make the action of Greek tragedy systemically intelligible and morally “profitable.” I connect this critique to Milton’s larger rejection of martyrdom-as-spectacle, proposing that Milton sees Aristotelian theory and the political-theological aesthetics of Catholicism and Restoration England to be similarly involved in instrumentalizing human suffering. As an alternative to this instrumentalization, Samson Agonistes represents an unmediated return to the models offered by Greek tragedies themselves, in which suffering is depicted as just beyond full human comprehension.
I intend to demonstrate that Milton – perhaps the first English author able to truly grapple with Aeschylus’ Greek and thereby engage with the entire extant Greek tragic corpus – appreciated the disparities between Aristotle’s interpretation of Greek tragedy (driven by changing social and literary norms at the end of the fourth century BCE) and what we actually find in Greek tragedies. In depicting the characters of Samson Agonistes as trapped by their own cyclical ventriloquizing of Aristotelian theories, Milton connects Aristotle’s schematic approach to tragedy – amplified in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century editions of the Poetics – with the idolatrous aesthetics of ritualized religion and martyrology.
Jean-Jacques Chardin (Professor, University of Strasbourg, France): "Tears and Shame in Samson Agonistes"
Samson Agonistes, Milton’s last text (1671), conflates the structural narrative of the Book of Judges and the idiom of classical tragedy. Building upon the works of Furguson (1987), Lyndt (1958) and Paster (1993), this paper aims to show how the correlated notions of tears and shame in Samson Agonistes reveal Milton’s typological treatment of the Old Testament background. Tears and shame are gendered topoi and Milton’s construction of his hero draws upon Wisdom literature (the Book of Job in particular). Tears are body liquids and signs ‘effeminacy’ (410) and frailty. As opposed to tears, shame is masculine and reveals a sense of being liberated from the prison of the body. Dalila’s tears go along with her sense of shame located at the interface of the individual and society. In Stanley Fish’s words, Dalila is ‘a site occupied by the desires and inscriptions of others’ (1989). Conversely, Samson embarks upon a self-fashioning project from public fame to private shame which he experiences as exposure to his own eyes, a topos poetically correlated to that of physical and spiritual blindness. The semi-choruses’ descriptions of Samson’s final victory rely upon the figure of enargeia and use striking visual imagery recalling the Book of Job, representations of Christ on the cross and patristic literature. They show how the Old Testament story has become a Christological epic.
Noam Reisner (Professor, Tel Aviv University, Israel): "Catharsis and the ethics of performance in Milton’s Samson Agonistes"
The casting of Samson Agonistes as Greek tragedy, which was never intended to the stage, calls for an act of interpretative imagination, or speculative performance. In denying the poem’s possible staging in actual performance, Milton points to the process by which he internalizes in the poem the drama of biblical history which is to be read, interpreted and enacted as a Christian typological drama of retribution, revenge and apocalypse. The poem’s dark and perplexing ambiguities emerge in this context not as the means to an obscure end, but as the inevitable end of Milton’s vexed biblical-dramatic imagination, wrestling with notions of inward liberty and ethical accountability in the translation of biblical text into spiritual Christian drama. As I will claim, Milton’s poem attempts to translate the Aristotelian psychological categories of “Pity and fear, or terror” into spiritual categories of typological acts of reading and misreading that, because of the poem’s imagined dramatic structure, must remain forever unfulfilled, forever awaiting enactment and lived performance. The catharsis is anticipatory rather than actual, and the tragedy, as the title indicates, is not to be found in the final catastrophe, but in the reader’s continues struggle, or agon, to reach for decisive meaning in a world of dark moral ambiguities."
(8b) Some Keywords in Paradise Lost - Chair: Leila Ghermani (Room 118)
Ayelet Langer (Associate Professor, University of Haifa, Israel): “Meanwhile: Moments of Infinite Presentness in Paradise Lost”
This essay proposes that in Paradise Lost the temporal adverb meanwhile marks a series of key moments, in which an endless succession is built into the present moment. A concrete, coherent, and intelligible form, this duration opens the possibility of transformation implicit in the monistic scale of “one first matter.” Based on Aristotle’s theory of the infinite in Physics III, Milton represents the infinite moment of presentness as a distinctive feature of the moral life, which can only be perceived by the prelapsarian and repentant mind. Satan, who can only use meanwhile indexically to designate temporal or spatial shifts, is doomed to be forever fallen.
Joshua Scodel (Professor, University of Chicago, Michigan, USA): “Edenic Cares: The Far and the Near”
“Care” is a central, richly polysemous term throughout Milton’s writings with senses ranging from a negative “sorrow, anxiety” to a positive “caution, heedfulness.” In Adam’s rejection in Paradise Lost of the “anxious cares” (8.185) associated with cosmic speculation, Milton reimagines a now largely forgotten classical and Renaissance humanist contrast between foolish “cares” about what is “far” from one’s own life with prudent “care” for what is “near” and of personal concern. In Book 9’s separation scene, both “domestic” Adam’s “care” (9.318) as he responds to Eve’s arguments about their “near” (9.220-221) relationship as well as the couple’s ensuing argument about being “secure” (9.339, 347-348, 371) in its senses of “safe” and recklessly “careless” vis-à-vis Satan, who is “nigh at hand” (9.256), give a new conjugal resonance to traditional calls to care about the near rather than far. In this scene Milton draws on Protestant marriage norms, Arminian-Calvinist debates concerning spiritual “security,” and pagan and Christian conceptions of heroism to revise in radical, hitherto unnoticed ways the epic tradition’s gendered distinction between women’s domestic care and men’s care for glory abroad. Adam recalls both classical epic’s caring wife and a careful, cautious heroism indebted to Tasso’s and Spenser’s Christian epics.
Andrea Walkden (Associate Professor, Queens College, CUNY, New-York, USA): “Milton’s Wandering All”
In The Structure of Complex Words (1951), William Empson attempts a taxonomy of the seemingly innumerable instances of the word “all” in Paradise Lost. For Empson, the Miltonic “all” is absolutist, single-minded, and totalizing: an “all-or-none” “all” that crowds the poem at moments of heightened emotion or heroic suspense. The theological implications of Milton’s universal or encompassing “all” are largely absent from Empson’s account, however. To explore these, my paper turns to the chapter, “On the Pursuance of Redemption,” in Milton’s theological treatise De Doctrina Christiana. Here, too, instances of the word “all” rapidly accumulate as Milton amasses scriptural citations to gloss the phrase Pro omnibus, “on behalf of all” (CW 8:521-29). Christ died for the whole of humankind, so Milton insists through this laborious citational practice, not only for the chosen as the Calvinist doctrine of limited atonement maintains. This Arminian “all” that Milton champions so staunchly against his Calvinist opponents might usefully be compared to an earlier, more politically valent, expression of the same universalizing impulse in Milton’s elegy of 1637. When, at the end of the elegy, Lycidas is installed as “the Genius of the shore,” he is tasked with serving as guardian “To all that wander in that perilous flood” (184-85). This early Miltonic “all,” which carries, I will argue, more controversial globalist and international associations, lays the foundations for a new understanding of all the all’s, including the Arminian “all,” that punctuate Milton’s later poetry.
(8c) New Directions on De Doctrina Christiana - Chair: John Rumrich (Room 119)
Thomas N. Corns (Fellow of the British Academy, Emeritus Professor, Bangor University, G.-B.): “Not just a source of footnotes: De Doctrina Christiana and polemical strategy” (briefing notes)
Editing Paradise Lost in collaboration with David Loewenstein has confirmed the assumption that De Doctrina Christiana offers a splendid quarry for annotations which illuminate explicitly concepts more guardedly or elusively expressed in the poem. But recently I have also come to the view that Miltonists should approach the theological treatise with the kind of sceptical appreciation of its polemical skill we often use in reading his English and Latin controversial prose. Analysis from this perspective could well in the future offer rich insights into the guilefulness of his seemingly unmanipulative theological exposition.
John Hale (Emeritus Professor, University of Otago, New Zealand): “Where Next?”
Used together, Maurice Kelley’s commentary on the theology of De Doctrina Christiana, the 2008 study of its manuscript by the Campbell-Corns consortium, and the linguistic focus of the recent Oxford edition, should enable new enquiries into existing questions, and suggest new questions.
Among existing ones the development (and even dating) of Milton’s thoughts deserves renewed investigation. How do changes to the MS map onto changes of opinion or emphasis within the chapters? Which chapters, or which pages, show him moving to the idea of publishing? For example, did he express himself more rhetorically with the decision to publish? Do his satirical moments imply an audience, to be warned or corrected, or are they simply the explosions of his “very satirical temper”?
New questions could include: What is lost in translations however good or diverse? (For instance, Latin spiritus is masculine but when give a pronoun in English may be a “he” or an “it”) What is lost to Milton by writing in Latin? (Latin has no definite article, unlike Greek or English: thus spiritus may mean a spirit, the spirit, or just the thing, “spirit.) Could the scholars assembled for Milton in Translation (2008) contribute? (Since De Doctrina is absent from its pages, this prodigious team might contribute freshly, in method or empathy.)
Jason A. Kerr (Assistant Professor of English, Bigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA): “What Is De Doctrina Christiana?”
Nearly two centuries after its publication, a shockingly simple question remains about De Doctrina Christiana, the theological treatise ascribed to John Milton: what is it? For many long years, we have assumed that the answer is “a record of Milton’s theological views” (or, for those inclined by the treatise’s heretical content to question its Miltonic provenance, “a record of anybody but Milton’s theological views”). This common-sense answer does not, however, comport with the methodological commitment to scripture affirmed in the epistle. Milton is setting out to articulate Christian doctrine on the basis of scripture, which is not exactly the same thing as setting out to articulate his own theological views (like Browne does in Religio Medici, for instance). To be sure, the process reveals much about Milton as a theologian, but understanding the treatise on its own terms means recognizing such revelations as secondary. My paper, then, will develop the implications of taking this scriptural focus seriously for how we read De Doctrina Christiana. First and foremost, putting scripture at the center of the treatise means that the theology it espouses can change under scriptural pressure. By attending to revisions in the manuscript, I will show such changes of mind at work. Reading the manuscript in this way shows that the treatise’s religious import for Milton lies in the arduous process that produced it, in the nitty-gritty of wrestling with scriptural texts and working what they mean for his own belief. After all, that process, as articulated in the epistle and evidenced throughout, remains the treatise’s most foundational doctrinal commitment.
Jeffrey Alan Miller (Associate Professor of English, Montclair State University, New Jersey, USA): “Which Milton Heard Which Parts of De Doctrina Christiana?” (briefing notes)
The enduringly controversial question of whether De Doctrina Christiana could or should be attributed to Milton has tended to be treated as reducible to the question, “Did Milton write De Doctrina?” And that has tended to be treated as a question to which there must ultimately be a yes or no answer, one that the most powerful recent work on the subject of De Doctrina has purported to deliver once and for all. Chiefly, I mean here the sequence of works undertaken by Gordon Campbell, Thomas N. Corns, John K. Hale, and Fiona J. Tweedie (among others), stretching from their collaborative article on “The Provenance of De Doctrina Christiana” in 1997 to the new edition and translation of De Doctrina prepared by Hale and J. Donald Cullington, with “additional material” by Campbell and Corns, and published in 2012 as part of Oxford University Press’s ongoing Complete Works of John Milton. Campbell, Corns, Hale, and Tweedie’s indispensable monograph on the subject, Milton and the Manuscript of De Doctrina Christiana (published in 2007), ends on the conclusion that “De Doctrina Christiana rightfully belongs in the Milton canon”, the work’s Miltonic provenance having been demonstrated “beyond a reasonable doubt”, and the new edition of De Doctrina correspondingly proclaims the authorship question “settled”.
The extent to which these contributions have been both presented and received as resolving the question of whether Milton wrote the unfinished work of systematic theology known as De Doctrina Christiana is unfortunate, not because I think that the attribution of the treatise to Milton remains in doubt in the way that William B. Hunter contended, but because the most exciting implication of the recent work on De Doctrina is not that it has closed down the question of Milton’s authorship but that it has in fact opened it up in a profoundly new way. Specifically, this recent work has shown that the answer to “Did Milton write De Doctrina?” is not “yes” or “no”, but rather, “that depends on what one means by ‘Milton’, ‘write’, and ‘De Doctrina’ itself”. In their monograph, Campbell et al. more than once make a point of noting that their findings complicate the very “notion of ‘authorship’”, by which they principally have in mind the degree to which the genre of systematic theology was a fundamentally appropriative or “absorbative” one, meaning that large swaths of De Doctrina consist of little more than unattributed transcriptions of prior works of systematic theology, just as those prior works of systematic theology themselves did. That, however, is but the tip of the iceberg, not least of all because it leaves largely intact the notion of a single Milton to whom the writing of De Doctrina as a whole may nonetheless be fairly attributed, even if certain parts of the text may be said to be “more Miltonic than others.”
At its most important level, the recent work on De Doctrina represents an opportunity not for settling the controversy over whether Milton wrote the treatise so named, but for reframing it. That is to say, rather than answering the question of whether Milton wrote De Doctrina Christiana, recent work challenges scholars to rethink the very terms of the question in the first place. This paper accordingly represents one such attempt to do so, asking not if Milton wrote De Doctrina, but which parts of De Doctrina did which Milton hear. As I intend to show, reframing the controversy over the attribution of De Doctrina Christiana to Milton along those lines has the potential not just to shed new light on our understanding of the treatise itself and of its potential relationship to Milton’s other works, but to renovate the very way in which scholars have tended to approach the historicist or contextualist study of Milton’s writings in general. In a recent review, in part, of the new edition of De Doctrina, Colin Burrow wryly remarked that “De Doctrina Christiana is probably the worst place to begin trying to like Milton.” It may, however, be the best place to begin trying to find a way beyond some of the various critical and theoretical paradigms to which the discipline of Milton studies (and perhaps of early modern literary studies in general.
(8d) Milton and the Universe - Chair: Gábor Ittzès (Room 113)
Vladimir Brljak (Associate Professor in Early Modern Literature, Durham University, G.-B.): “Milton and the Space Age: Premodern Universes and Modern Readers”
Night is merely a shadow cast by the Earth with the Sun revolving around it, projected into the eternal daylight of the ethereal cosmos: ‘the circling canopy / Of night’s extended shade’, and beyond it, ‘those happy climes that lie / Where day never shuts his eye’ (Paradise Lost, 3.556–7; Maske, 976–7). Such is the premodern idea of space, as explicated on Miltonic examples by C. S. Lewis, since replaced by one of ‘the heavenly bodies mov[ing] in a pitch-black and dead-cold vacuity’. But what is this discarded image doing, as John Leonard has more recently asked, in the mind of Milton’s Victorian editor David Masson, who is still, in 1880, imagining the universe of ‘modern science’ as ‘an absolute, boundless, ocean of azure space’, an ‘enormous sphere of blue’? Unbounded and uncentred, Masson’s space is clearly Copernican, but why is it blue? When did space—a transformation ‘as profound as Copernicus’s displacing of the earth’, yet occasioning ‘no debate and little notice’—turn black? The paper picks up the discussion where Leonard leaves it, further elucidating the dynamics on this shift and its significance for the contemporary reader in grasping Milton’s imaginative achievement in Paradise Lost.
Evan LaBuzetta (Independent scholar, San Diego, California, USA): “Octopus Angels, or: What does it mean to have a different kind of intellect?”
In Paradise Lost the angel Raphael famously describes human and angelic reason as, respectively, discursive and intuitive: differing “but in degree, of kind the same.” However, this paper will argue that the scope and significance of the difference between human and angelic intellect has been under-appreciated.
Contrary to Raphael’s (self) assessment, the humans and angels in Paradise Lost evidence markedly different ways of understanding and responding to their surroundings, and this difference contributes to mutual incomprehension and failure at key moments. Failure does not necessarily imply faults or deficits in the prelapsarian characters, but it does highlight the degree of difference in intellect. To use an imperfect analogy, the difference is more akin to human and octopus than human and ape.
By contrast, the figure of the Son in Paradise Regained withstands a primarily intellectual temptation, and is able to do so with an intellect that combines and fully expresses the respective strengths of humans and angels. The Son’s success stands in stark contrast to other characters' failures in Paradise Lost, including Raphael, Adam, Eve and Gabriel.
Sara van den Berg (Professor, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri, USA): “Milton and Extraterrestrial Life”
Philosophers speculated about a “plurality of worlds” since antiquity. Milton’s Paradise Lost contains several references to this possibility, most explicitly in the narrative of Satan’s voyage (he “stayed not to inquire”) and in Raphael’s counsel to Adam (“dream not of other worlds”). Satan and Raphael would seem to affirm the same choice, but for different reasons. My paper extends the temporal range of Lara Dodds’ essay, “Milton’s Other Worlds” (2008), and discusses the cultural implications of Milton’s references to different worlds. Milton’s epic is a turning point in the imagining of different worlds, and anticipates the Enlightenment debate about extraterrestrial life. Not until William Hay’s Religio Philosophi (1753) would anyone propose that the universe contains rational beings on many different Globes, and that each world has its own story of fall and its own Saviour (142-44). Thomas Paine rejected such possible scenarios, and other writers are discussed by Michael Crowe in The Exterrestrial Life Debate, 1750-1900 (Notre Dame University Press, 2008). The terms of the debate draw on the relationship between science and religion that underlies Milton’s creation narrative and that became a central issue in the seventeenth century.
(8e) Milton's 1645 Poems - Chair: Hannah J. Crawforth (Room 112)
Margaret Kean (Fellow in English, St Hilda's College, Oxford, G.-B.): “The Case Is Altered” (On the Nativity Ode)
This paper offers further consideration of Milton’s early poetry and its religious contexts. It will focus on the Nativity Ode: a composition that actively engages with key questions of non-idolatrous devotion and a right style of worship. Comparison will be drawn between Milton’s dedicatory piece and the poetics of George Herbert, in particular The Altar. The work of both Milton and Herbert will be located within immediate contemporary religious debates, and against the powerful influence of Lancelot Andrewes’ sermon style.
William Shullenberger (Professor, Sarah Lawrence College, Yonkers, New York, USA): “‘The Passion’ and the Death of Metaphor”
Meditating the death of Christ, ‘The Passion’ broaches a subject that destroys the very idea of poetry, and that is why Milton left the poem unfinished. While most poets are reluctant to publish their failures, Milton assigned ‘The Passion’ a prominent position in the 1645 Poems. The Nativity Ode, in response to which ‘The Passion’ is a palinode, celebrates the indwelling of the Word, and dramatizes the way in which the Incarnation structures humanity’s prospects through a redemptive language-event. ‘The Passion’, composed upon the loss of the Word, is an exercise in linguistic impossibility, a poem about poetic dis-figuration and its consequent imaginative failure. The eight stanzas of the fragment chronicle a series of failed beginnings, in which Milton resorts to virtually every strategy in the poetic repertoire in order to broach his subject. But he abandons each strategy, for Christ’s passion is a death-blow to the passion of writing and its foundation in the redemptive metaphor of Christ as the Word. The poetic consequences of this death-blow are the often-recited forms of failure in the poem. It is the absence of the Logos, in his own language and in the unanswering world it speaks to and speaks of, that Milton laments in this lyric fragment. Milton never approached the topic of the death of Christ so directly again, but the implications of this topic were to shadow nearly every poem he was henceforth to write.
David Lee III Vaughan (Doctoral candidate, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA): “Milton and Catullus: The Sounds of Allusion in Latin Poetry”
This paper examines an allusion to Catullus 64 in John Milton’s In quintum Novembris in order to show that Milton’s early classicism depends not just upon imitation but also upon the sound of allusion to distinguish his poetic voice from that of his classical sources. While much work demonstrates that Ovid, Virgil, and Horace are the predominant influences in Milton’s poetry, Catullus, because his presence is slight, receives little discussion. Yet, Milton certainly knew Catullus. In Areopagitica Milton identifies him as a poet of “Satyricall sharpnesse” and “naked plainness” who was not censored by the Roman state, and he echoes both the sound and sense of the compound adjective fluentisonus from the epyllion of Catullus. In a famous digression about the abandonment of Ariadne by Theseus on the shores of Dia, Catullus writes “namque fluentisono prospectans litore Diae” (64.52). For Milton, the cliffs along the shores of England resound as they appear to Satan: “Jamque fluentisonis albentia rupibus arva / Apparent” (25-26). I argue that fluentisonus functions like a verbal echo that allows Catullus to resound throughout Milton’s poem, and because the sonic allusion grants Catullus a presence in the English landscape, Milton is able to subsume and surpass his Roman model.
(8f) Milton in the Arts - Chair: Wendy Furnam-Adams (Room 120)
Beat Föllmi (Professor, Université de Strasbourg): « ‘La confusion recule et l’ordre naît.’ La réception rationaliste du Paradis perdu de John Milton dans La Création de Joseph Haydn » (English paper)
Chia-Yin Huang (Associate Professor and Chair, Chinese Culture University, Tapei, Taiwan): “Exhibiting the World: The Milton Shield, Paradise Lost, and the 1867 Exposition”
In 1867, the intricately embossed Milton Shield featuring scenes from Paradise Lost was exhibited at the Exposition Universelle, the second world’s fair held in Paris in the 19th century. Made by French sculptor Léonard Morel-Ladeuil in Renaissance- revival style for the manufacturer, Elkington & Co., the shield received enthusiastic responses and won the artist a gold medal at the exhibition. Instead of representing the quintessential scenes of the Fall—the temptation by the serpent and the offering or taking of the forbidden fruit, the sculptor chose to represent an earlier moment in Paradise Lost when Raphael converses with Adam and Eve in the garden about the heavenly warfare and the cosmic order. Encircling the central scene of the angelic messenger and the Edenic couple are visual representations of what is told by Raphael or what Adam and Eve have learned from Raphael’s account—the image of the wars between the faithful and rebel angels along with an outer ring decorated with angels, stars, zodiac signs, and foliage. The composition of the shield with the garden at the center in many ways parallels the structure of the main exhibition hall at the 1867 Exposition Universelle in Paris, where a central garden was surrounded by oval- shaped concentric circles showcasing the industrial products, artworks, crafts, and other material accomplishments of all the nations in the world. By comparing the structural compositions of the Milton Shield and the Main Exhibition Hall in Paris at the Exposition Universelle, the study will consider resemblance in structure and conceptual organization between the Shield and the Exhibition Hall. It will discuss how this resemblance reflects the political ambition of the European mind to encompass all nations within one view and explore how the display of the world on a shield is connected to the tradition of periegesis and ekphrasis, modes of representation that guides the spectator to experience the diversity of the world partially and holistically.
Beverley Sherry (Honorary Associate, University of Sydney, Australia): “Milton in Stained Glass”
Milton and the visual arts is a widely researched subject but it has not yet extended to stained glass. Portraits of Milton and illustrations of his works date from the seventeenth century on, but it was not until the nineteenth century that they appeared in stained glass. The Gothic Revival brought with it a revival of stained glass, which had been virtually a lost art in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. From the mid-nineteenth century, portraits of Milton in stained glass proliferated—in schools, libraries, universities, civic buildings, churches, even residences. Depictions of his works are much rarer. As with the portraits, they carry a rich freight of meaning because of the nature of stained glass. As an architectural art, stained glass is not an autonomous art but is tied to a building, a building constructed at a particular time and place for a specific purpose and associated with particular people. Stained glass is thus part of a social and historical context. This PowerPoint presentation includes portraits of Milton in stained glass from the UK, USA, Canada, and Australia, the Paradise Lost window at Geneva College, Beaver Falls Pennsylvania, and the Paradise Lost window at Princeton University. It concludes with the Milton memorial window at St Margaret's Church Westminster, which encompasses both portraits of Milton at different stages of his life as well as scenes from Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained. Particularly rich in meaning, this window exemplifies Milton’s own description of stained glass as “storied Windows richly dight” (Il Penseroso 159).
15h45-16h15: Coffee break (Great Hall)
16h15-18h00: Panel sessions 9
(9a) Eco-friendly Readings of Paradise Lost - Chair: Dennis Danielson (Room 119)
Sophie Alice Ciara Fordham (Queen Mary’s, Londres, G.-B.): “Cultivating Ecological Communion through ‘Collateral Love’ in Paradise Lost”
At the Tenth International Milton Symposium, in a paper on Ecocritical Milton, Leah Marcus argued that ‘insufficient conversation’ between those interested in 17th century vitalism and those interested in 21st century ecocriticism posed a significant obstacle to the future of eco-Milton studies. Six years later, this conversation has developed further and yet the challenge of pursuing an ecologically-conscious inquiry into early modern texts, unhampered by the modern desire to locate and unravel a genealogy of our present ecological crisis, remains pertinent. Reconstellating the conversation, in this paper, I will argue that Milton’s ecological thought cannot be construed through attention to his vitalist philosophy alone, but rather in its connection with the author’s eucharistic theology — more specifically, his resistance to, and revolution of, these theologies of Holy Communion. By triangulating Milton’s ecological thought within a unified philosophical and theological framework, I will explore to what extent his vision of a vital, sacred - but not sacramental - communion is inclusive of non-human entities. Furthermore, I will explore to what extent this new communion is cultivated through the practice of a non-lineal, superfluous, ‘collateral love’ and reflect on why Milton’s holistic, multidisciplinary approach to ecology is valuable to us today.
Elizabeth Hodgson (Professor, University of British Columbia, Canada): “Milton, Marvell, and the Amorous Theology of Vegetables”
In the mid-seventeenth century, in what Joan Thirsk calls “the golden age of agriculturalism” and McColley the “new georgics,” vegetarianism emerges as a scientific cure, a theological alternative, and a political opportunity in writers from Evelyn to Beale to Hartlib. Particularly in what Parry notes as the nostalgia for a prelapsarian English landscape, Milton’s contemporaries imagine an Eden in which plants and people nourish each other. Evelyn in De Acetaria imagines an extended Edenic epoch in which fruits and vegetables form the wholesome diet of Adam and Eve, and Cowley praises Adam as the first farmer.
More explicitly and more poetically, Marvell in “The Garden” imagines a Paradise in which fruits offer themselves to the speaker in a particularly strenuous and (as Stephen Guy-Bray notes) sexualized consumption. Milton in Paradise Lost partly adopts Marvell’s vegetarian passions, as his Eve both loves and eats her amorous Edenic garden. Robert Watson dubs this vegetarianism a nostalgic Calvinist soteriology, but Milton and Marvell in more complex terms conflate amorous desire and the vegetarianism of Eden with a materialist theology of natural life marked by ideologies of gendered self-immolation. A vegetable from Paradise, in Marvell and Milton, is clearly never just a vegetable.
Michael Schoenfeldt (John Knott Professor of English Literature, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA): “Paradise Lost and the Natural History of Sensation”
In this paper, I want to think about the ways that John Milton focuses his great epic of the Fall on the scrupulous calibration of physical sensation with a range of environmental textures. For Milton, I hope to show, the sensations of pain and pleasure in particular entail particularly rich and complex transactions between an invariably permeable body and a sensuously seductive environment. Milton is concerned with the ways that environments can pollute individuals, but he is also disturbed by how individuals pollute environments. Paradise Lost depicts, among many other things, the first case of humans being contaminated by their environment, and the first example of human-induced climate change. I intend to focus in this paper on pleasure and pain, because these sensations are the subject of heightened ethical and religious attention in early modern England. Throughout the epic, Milton radically reorients the relative importance of pleasure and pain in the Christian dispensation. Milton, I hope to show, urges vigilance in response to the torrent of sensations that perpetually mediate between environment and embodiment. While Satan is condemned to everlasting pain, humans who practice disciplined yet imminently pleasurable self-regulation may reclaim some of the paradisal territory lost at the Fall.
(9b) Value, Prayer, and Justification in Paradise Lost - Chair: Grant Horner (Room 118)
Ryan Netzley (Professor, Editor Marvell Studies, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois, USA): “Unlearning Value: Speculative Praise and Destructive Creation in Paradise Lost”
What’s the value of valuing? That’s a central question in Paradise Lost, an epic that both represents acts of valuing and purportedly performs valuing at the same time, all while insisting that only God knows how to value things aright. So why do humans and angels keep valuing things in Paradise Lost when it so clearly reserves such an activity for God? Treating this phenomenon as evidence of created beings’ obdurate perversity seems ultimately self-defeating, a tacit denial that the epic could teach anyone anything. Instead, the poem seeks to lead readers away from the cancerously productive tendencies of value: its inclination to generate ever more of itself, as well as its faith in the speculative certainty of creative destruction and future profit.
This paper explores what the moments of praise in Paradise Lost can teach us about the act and structure of valuing, especially their role in creating modern notions of economic, financial, and aesthetic value. Paradise Lost, I argue, forces us to reconsider some of our more cherished notions about the utility of value. In the end, Milton’s epic demonstrates that valuing (and revaluing) is the antithesis of risk insofar as it always offers the same comforting lesson: tomorrow, once again, you’ll be evaluating, measuring, and even critiquing things. That’s an all too reassuring portrait of the future for a humanity that must mend its ways after the Fall.
Yuko Noro (Professor, Nihon University, Tokyo, Japan): “From Eikonoclastes to Paradise Lost: Milton’s Concept of Prayer”
Rebutting Charles’s Eikon Basilike, Milton advances his politico-religious attitude towards prayer and the way of praying in Eikonoclastes. “Confining prayers” by compelling people to use the “set forms” of The Book of Common Prayer is “a tyranny” of Charles and the royalist party, worse than anything decreed by Nero. Milton asserts that prayer is the most serious and solemn appeal to God from man. Every person is divinely granted one’s own opportunity for praying to God by using one’ own words, without any political intervention. Neither law nor authority is allowed to hinder people from offering prayers to God.
We are able to recognize Milton’s concept of prayer argued in his regicide tract, Eikonoclastes, running through his life, and culminating in the two praying scenes in Paradise Lost depicting the prelapsarian and postlapsarian Adam and Eve respectively.
My aim is to illuminate Milton’s concept of prayer demonstrated in his refutation of seeing Charles as the self-fashioned “Royal Saint and Martyr”, and analyze how Milton incorporates them into his epic. This analysis shows Milton’s democratic philosophy that everybody has the right to pray to God, using one’s own words. The key is that prayer is one’s invisible property, irrespective of whether the words of prayer are eloquent or not.
Claude N. Stulting (Assistant Professor of Religion & English, Furman University, Greenville, South Carolina, USA): “Adoption and Deification: Human-kind’s Telos in Paradise Lost, De Doctrina Christiana, and the Greek Fathers”
After explaining his doctrine of justification in De Doctrina Christiana, Milton takes up one of the theologici loci not often considered: adoption, defined as that “whereby God adopts as His children those who are justified through faith.” Those adopted become “children of God,” “heirs through Christ,” and “fellow citizens with the saints.” The justified also become “sons of God by a new generation; by the assumption . . . of a new nature, and by a conformity to his glory.”
The way Milton describes adoption resonates with the Greek Christian idea of theosis, the deification of humankind involving an ongoing, deepening participation in God through a life of virtue. Despite Milton’s commitment to the penal-substitutionary theory of the atonement, rejected by Eastern Christianity, both Milton and the Greek Fathers affirm the necessity of an enduring life of virtue for the final renewal of humankind.
Milton’s doctrine of adoption and the Greek idea of theosis provide a unique perspective from which to understand Michael’s description of humankind’s spiritual telos in Books 11 and 12 of Paradise Lost, i.e., that humankind’s salvation consists not only in the act of justification but also in the process of adoption that reflects Milton’s kinship with the Greek Fathers.
(9c) Milton in the mid-1650s - Chair: Elizabeth Sauer (Room 113)
Jeremy Specland (Doctorale candidate, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Jersey, USA): “Unfinished Exegesis: Reading Psalm 2 in the Miltonic Canon” (1653)
This paper takes an underexplored path between Milton’s De Doctrina Christiana and Paradise Lost. It follows the development of Milton’s interpretation of Psalm 2—crucial to his argument against the Trinity in De Doctrina and the source of Book 5’s begetting of the Son in Paradise Lost—through his 1653 translation, arguing that this translation marks a significant advance in Milton’s creation of a verse form appropriate to his theological vision. W. B. Hunter long ago described Milton’s 1653 psalm translations as the achievement of his “mature prosody.” This claim deserves elaboration in relation to Psalm 2, where Milton develops Dante’s terza rima (which he labels as such) into a tool for scriptural paraphrase. Milton’s choice of form speaks to the Dantean scope of his ambition for Psalm 2. His heavily enjambed reworking of Dante’s form, a step towards the “ancient liberty” Milton claims for the prosody of his epic, also attempts to undo its Trinitarian associations, paralleling Psalm 2’s use in De Doctrina. My reading of Milton’s translation of Psalm 2 appreciates its intermediary status as a lyric training ground for the theological problems addressed in epic and helps clarify Milton’s understanding of the relationship between doctrine and verse.
Lana Cable (Professor Emerita, The University of Albany, New York, USA): Milton's Caudated 'New Forcers' and the Deep State of the Political Sonnet"
Michael Komorowski's persuasive "On 'The New Forcers of Conscience' and Milton's Erastianism" recontextualizes this caudated sonnet to foreground the debate over Authority versus Free Conscience that ultimately inspired Milton's greatest poems. The question of whether the sonnet's double tail actually "improves" its form gives Komorowski pause. But Milton's interest at the time was surely not to improve sonnet form, which is there to serve the poet rather than the poet serving the form. So a more interesting question is not "Does double caudating improve sonnet form?" but rather "Why does sonnet form remain intact despite all such tinkering?" Milton's "New Forcers" could indeed have been influenced by the satirical sonnets of Berni and the burlesque tradition. But I argue that when Milton's ideas surge past the finish line to bring justice and free conscience into the debate, they do so not to invent the political sonnet, but to engage a conflict similar to the political conflicts that inspired thirteenth century invention of sonnet form.
Edward Jones (Professor, Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma, USA): “Milton and the Tothill Fields Chapel” (1656)
Two unreported entries from the churchwarden accounts from the parish of St Margaret’s, Westminster for 1657-58 provide evidence that Milton buried his second wife and daughter by her, both named Katherine, in the churchyard of the Tothill Fields Chapel rather than as has long been assumed at the mother church. The choice coheres not just in terms of logistics (the chapel is very close to Milton’s home at the time in Petty France) but Milton’s independent religious preferences in his later years (the Chapel was being run by Sir Robert Pye who opposed Laudian reform and had installed the Puritan minister Herbert Palmer). Additional evidence concerning the morning exercise (a puritan initiative in which a single parish hosted a team of ministers who delivered short daily lectures followed by prayers over the course of a month) reveals that by 1656, the godly Onesephorus Roode served as minister and thus conducted the burial services of Milton’s second wife and daughter, a month apart from each other in 1658.
(9d) XVIIIth Century Readings of Paradise Lost - Chair: Noel Sugimura (Room 124)
William Kolbrener (Professor, Bar-Ilan University, Israel: “Surprised by Sentiment – Joseph Addison’s Polite Paradise Lost”
My paper addresses the conference theme indirectly – focusing on the politics of latitudinarian Christianity informing Joseph Addison’s reading of Paradise Lost. While Milton’s epic presupposes an ideal Puritan reader manifesting right reason, the ideal reader assumed from the Paradise Lost of Addison’s 1712 Spectator essays is an empathetic reader, evidencing compassion. Addison’s hermeneutics of compassion, I argue, emerges from an engagement with Locke and Newton, and the former’s subsequent conviction in the unknowability of other subjects (or anything beyond what Locke called ‘secondary qualities’). That is, while Milton’s epic, in Stanley Fish’s reading, constructs a reader eventually surprised by his own theological transgressions, Addison’s Paradise Lost assumes, indeed tries to construct, a polite reader of emotional susceptibility and compassion. For Addison, the spectacle of human frailty displayed in Milton’s epic, elicits pity, defined as ‘nothing else but Love softened by a degree of sorrow.’ In place of a politics presupposed on theology, Addison’s version of the epic emphasizes ‘delicacy,’ as well as sentiment and compassion as a spur to sociability. Inheriting Locke and Newton’s melancholy universe, Addison’s most ‘delicate modern reader’ responds with a compassion leading to, indeed demanding, the affective bonds of the social.
Hugh Wilson (Professor, Grambling State University, Grambling, Louisiana, USA): “'The Devil in Masquerade': The Criticism of the Theology of Paradise Lost in The Political History of the Devil: Defoe’s Hoax”
For the last quarter century, the 1823 ascription of the extravagantly heterodox De Doctrina Christiana to John Milton, the author of Paradise Lost, has been a bone of contention. For a century and a half after his death, most readers believed Milton was a traditional Christian. To challenge the consensus that Milton was theologically orthodox and therefore unlikely to have composed such a treatise, exponents of the attribution argued there have always been a few early readers who suspected that Milton's theology was heretical. In The Political History of Devil , Daniel Defoe, the sly genius who composed Robinson Crusoe, Moll Flanders, and The Shortest Way with Dissenters, is supposed to have found and denounced unorthodox theology in Paradise Lost. Contrary to the current scholarly consensus, I will argue that Defoe's position on Milton has been seriously misconstrued; in their eagerness to support their theory, gifted scholars have been misled by a hoax. 
Noël K. Sugimura (Associate Professor, St John’s College, Oxford, U.K.): “‘the greatest Impiety conceivable’: Satan, God, and Gratitude”
This paper examines the reception history of Paradise Lost by some of Milton’s well known and, also, less well known early readers. It does so by specifically exploring how eighteenth-century readers of Milton responded to Satan’s ostensible cause for his rebellion—particularly, in the Mt Niphates’ speech and his discussion of the nature of God’s love—and how this, in turn, is paired with their readerly desire to ‘fix’ or ‘explain away’ certain theological ‘pressure points’ that they thought made Milton’s God look dangerously Calvinist. To read Paradise Lost alongside the printed commentary, manuscripts notes, and marginalia made by these early readers of Milton not only sheds new light on the various thorny theological problems that Milton’s epic raised for enlightenment readers, but also highlights how they responded to the artistic and theological impulses of the poem, the legacies of which are still very much with us today.
(9e) Race and Political Belonging in the Age of Milton - Chair: Elliott Visconsi (Room 120)
The concept for the panel stems from one of the abiding questions in 17th century constitutional and political theory-- namely, how does one form and sustain a political community. The mid-17th century is very much the age of constitutional experimentation, colony formation, and the emergence of the transnational corporation as a proxy for the administrative state. Among the core questions of the period are the following: how should heritable characteristics (class identity, ethnicity/race) be leveraged to form ties of belonging and membership? Likewise how should demonstrated individual behaviors (godliness, purity, loyalty) contribute to the formation, growth, and persistence of membership in the political community. We propose to study three explorations of these questions in the Age of Milton.
Ellen MacKay (Associate Professor, University of Chicago, Illinois, USA): “Practicing the Social in The Tempest”
MacKay's paper focuses in depth on the Dryden-Davenant rewriting of Shakespeare's Tempest, reading the D-D adaptation as a rehearsal for a new world that deploys the immersive and isolate condition of the theatre as a zone for social entrainment. Prospero's project is the immersive process of habituation and acclimatization to which he subjects all the shipwrecked characters on his magic-filled island. The paper eschews a treatment of politics by quotation (as in Gonzalo's drawing on Montaigne or Cockaigne's laborless idyll), but describes a politics that is disseminated via embodied reenactment for a brave new world to come. The island is a Robinsonade before Defoe, and thus a place purpose-built for testing out social theory. As a demonstration of the force of artificial environments as preparatives for a life to come, the play and its afterlives reveal the theatrical mechanics of a social contract built on the inclusion of some and the exclusion of others.
Mary Nyquist (Professor, University of Toronto, Canada): “The American, the Barbarian, and the Commonwealth”
Nyquist's paper explores the oscillating role in Milton's later works around the use of ethnic identity and other group attributes for analytical and affective purposes. While Milton represents himself as an advocate for the interests of the English nation, Paradise Lost explores the costs and benefits of using forms of attributed group identity (barbarism, savagery, ethnicity) to construct and understand political community (inclusion and exclusion on the basis of race) in an age of transnational global expansion.
Elliott Visconsi (Associate Professor of English & Concurrent Associate Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame, Indiana, USA): “Race and Pluralism in the Age of Milton: The Case of the English East India Company”
Visconsi's paper focuses on the English East India Company's surprising embrace of ethnic and religious diversity as a mechanism for improving population and trade growth in the colonies of Bombay and Madras in the late 60's and 70s. Company policy and practice demonstrates a theory of political belonging in which religious diversity is a subordinated epiphenomenon of a controlling corporate identity, a begrudging and cynical pluralism enrolled as a mere market advantage. Paradise Lost reveals a deep concern about such emerging concepts of market-inflected political community that underwrite global expansion.
(9f) Milton and Ireland - Chair: David Currell (Room 112) (CANCELLED)
David Harris Sacks (Richard F. Scholz Professor of History and Humanities, Emeritus, History Department, Reed College, Portland, Oregon, USA): "The Politics of Religion: John Milton’s View of the Present State of Ireland" (MOVED TO 5b)
In Spring, 1649, John Milton published a set of Observations upon the Articles of Peace with the Irish Rebels, responding, “by Authority,” on behalf of Council of State to the terms agreed between the Earl of Ormond, King Charles I’s Governor of Ireland and Ireland’s Roman Catholics. Although Charles himself had been tried and executed months before Milton’s comments were published, conditions in Ireland for remained for some time a living issue for the Commonwealth and for Oliver Cromwell, its most powerful figure. In commenting on Milton’s Observations a number of scholars have remarked on its debt to Edmund Spenser’s A View…of Ireland, which emphasized the barbarous customs of the Irish and the need to eradicate them using penal laws and harsh military measures before Ireland could be civilized and Christianized. Other scholars have juxtaposed the coercive civilizing mission advocated by Milton for Ireland with his commitment to personal liberty and republican freedom put forward in political tracts such as Areopagitica and The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates. This paper uses Milton’s view of Ireland to consider the role play by his conceptions of human and Christian liberty in shaping his understanding of civility and theory of republican government.
John Cunningham (Lecturer in Early Modern Irish and British History, Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK): "Milton, John Hall and Thomas Waring’s Brief Narration of the Rebellion in Ireland" (CANCELLED)
In January 1650 the Commonwealth’s Council of State instructed John Milton to organise the publication of a pamphlet long attributed to solely Thomas Waring, namely A Brief Narration of the Rebellion in Ireland. Because of this connection between Milton and Waring, several scholars have made use of A Brief Narration in their efforts to contextualise Milton’s writings on Ireland in 1649. This paper will shed new light on A Brief Narration, outlining evidence to show that a large section of the pamphlet was actually written not by Waring but by John Hall of Durham (1627-1656). Hall was an admirer of Milton, and he also worked alongside him from 1649 as a writer for the Council of State. Hall’s contribution to A Brief Narration ought to be of interest to Milton scholars because it appears that he drew inspiration from both Milton’s Observations Upon the Articles of Peace and the relevant Irish-focused chapter of Eikonoklastes. Hall’s work in A Brief Narration can be understood both as a response to Milton’s 1649 writings on Ireland, and an effort to build upon it.
Colin Lahive (Dr., University College of Dublin, Dublin, Ireland): "Milton's Irish Legacy" (CANCELLED)
This paper examines a largely undocumented aspect of Irish literary history: the reception and circulation of John Milton's writings in Ireland. Milton's negative views of the inhabitants of Ireland have been well documented, but this paper analyses some of the intellectual responses of readers, writers, and thinkers in Ireland to the English republic's leading apologist for the conquest of Ireland. I argue that such an approach is required in order to redirect the critical narrative away from examinations of the hackneyed anti-Irish stereotypes written for colonial agendas and to shed light on the ways in which Milton was read to speak to and about a range of political, religious, social, and ethical issues in early modern and late modern Ireland. The paper also seeks to introduce my book-length study of the topic, which – ranging across printed and manuscript sources from Irish translations of Milton's poetry to political appropriations of his controversial prose – interrogates the collective assumptions, aspirations, fears, anxieties, and prejudices of readers and writers in Ireland as they are revealed in response to the self-conflicting voice of civil and religious liberties, on the one hand, and aggressive English colonialism on the other.
20h00-22h30: Visit of l'Église Saint-Pierre le Jeune (St Peter the Younger's Church, Protestant), Place St Pierre le Jeune, Strasbourg, followed by a concert by La Follia.
La Follia is a renowned regional Chamber Orchestra based in Mulhouse. They will perform Mozart's Serenade in G major, K. 525 : "A Little Night Music", Tchaikovsky's string Sextet in D minor "Souvenir de Florence", Op. 70, and Schoenberg's Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night), Op. 4.
Updated: 14 June 2019