Gender and the Power of Relationship: "United as one individual Soul" in Paradise LostKristin A. Pruitt $60.00
Published in 2003 | 196 pages | cloth| ISBN: 978-0-8207-0340-4
“This is a fascinating book, one that merits being a standard study of gender in Paradise Lost. It successfully demonstrates the many ways unity in diversity manifests itself in Milton's epic, enriching our reading of Paradise Lost with a satisfying new perspective. . . . Pruitt succeeds nobly.” — ANQ
“The merits of this book are clear. It offers sensitive close readings of individual passages of Paradise Lost, full of interesting insights. The considerable learning is worn lightly, often packed into footnotes, while the prose is lucid and appealing. The Milton it offers is not a misogynistic heretic but an attractive and in some ways quite forward-looking figure whom modern liberal Christian thought would find rather sympathetic. . . . One thing that shines through this book is a reminder of what an interesting and provocative poem we possess in Paradise Lost. Pruitt's book is a celebration of that poem.” — Sixteenth Century Journal
“For new readers and teachers of Paradise Lost, Kristin A. Pruitt's sensible and humane study provides a worthy introduction to critical issues of gender and hierarchy that pervade John Milton's portrait of Adam and Eve.” — Christianity and Literary Studies"
In this provocative study, Kristin A. Pruitt offers a close reading of pivotal passages and critical concerns in Paradise Lost and examines Milton's presentation of Adam and Eve's relationship through the intersections of theology and gender in the poem. By delving into several seventeenth century commentaries on Genesis, Pruitt examines the various depictions of Eve and presents Milton's Eve and her relationship with Adam. In recent years, scholars have addressed the disparate, often contradictory positions on gender and hierarchy in Paradise Lost. However, Pruitt adds to the discussion another layer: that the dialectic in the poem⎯the parallels and reversals in structure, imagery, action, and characterization⎯offer a reading from multiple perspectives and means of understanding one of the poem's principal messages, which is the dual emphases on individuality versus selfhood and relationship versus union as they illuminate the ideal of unity in diversity.
KRISTIN A. PRUITT retired from her position as dean of the School of Arts and is professor emerita of English at Christian Brothers University in Memphis. Since 1991 she has codirected the biennial Conference on John Milton, the only conference in the United States devoted exclusively to Milton. With Charles W. Durham, she has coedited eight collections of essays on John Milton, two of which have won the Irene Samuel Award presented by the Milton Society of America for the most distinguished collection on John Milton published in 1997 and 2005.