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Milton: Paradise Lost: Religious and Literary Background

7. Representing Eve's Fall in Paradise Lost in Theological and Moral Terms

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About this Lecture

Lecture

In this module, we turn to the presentation of the Fall in Paradise Lost, which takes account of both Ames' and Bacon's understandings of the doctrine. On the one hand, the description of the Fall evokes Ames' image of nature being physically wounded by the Fall. At the same time, Milton also presents Eve's actions in distinctly moral terms; Book 9 emphasises the moral aspect of the Fall by making use of tragic conventions such as the soliloquy, while Milton furthers this interpretation by allowing Eve a psychological depth that is not found in the original account in the Book of Genesis.

Course

In this course, Dr Edmund White (University of Oxford) explores the religious and literary background of Paradise Lost. This course provides an introduction to the religious culture of seventeenth-century England, and shows how this culture influenced the composition of Milton’s epic poem, Paradise Lost. This course falls into two halves. In the first half: we explore the principal Christian ideas that feature in Milton’s narration of the fall of Adam and Eve; in the second half, we look at the political implications of the religious ideas articulated in Paradise Lost. In both halves, we take examples from key moments of the poem, as well as from other writings by Milton and his seventeenth-century contemporaries.

Lecturer

Dr Edmund White completed his D. Phil. in English Literature at the University of Oxford in January 2014. Supervised by Sharon Achinstein, the title of his thesis was “The Concept of Discipline: Poetry, Rhetoric, and the Church in the Works of John Milton”. The main interest of his research thus far has been in the intersection between mainstream ecclesiastical politics and literature in Milton's works. Discipline, his thesis argues, is a complex concept in Milton's writing, that develops over time: whereas it denotes coercive and persuasive ecclesiastical power in his early prose, his later poetry treats the concept in terms of personal, moral piety.

His future research will seek to compare Milton’s understanding of piety in his later works with the pieties advocated by other contemporaries of different confessional persuasions: Bunyan, Baxter, Traherne, Vaughan.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

White, E. (2018, August 15). Milton: Paradise Lost: Religious and Literary Background - Representing Eve's Fall in Paradise Lost in Theological and Moral Terms [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/milton-paradise-lost-religious-and-literary-background/representing-eve-s-fall-in-paradise-lost-in-theological-and-moral-terms

MLA style

White, Edmund. "Milton: Paradise Lost: Religious and Literary Background – Representing Eve's Fall in Paradise Lost in Theological and Moral Terms." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018, https://www.massolit.io/courses/milton-paradise-lost-religious-and-literary-background/representing-eve-s-fall-in-paradise-lost-in-theological-and-moral-terms