The Age of Milton and the Scientific Revolution

The Age of Milton and the Scientific Revolution

by Angelica Duran $70.00

Published in 2006 | 349 pages | cloth | ISBN: 978-0-8207-0386-2


“Duran's prose is readable and accessible. . . . Recommended.” — Choice

“By centering her scholarly account of the impact of the new cosmological theories, developments in mathematics, and scientific discoveries on a single author, Angelica Duran enables the reader to share a more intimate understanding of the imprint that such radical changes made on Milton's life and work.” — Modern Language Review

“Overall, what emerges is a striking conviction that while the growth of knowledge associated with the Scientific Revolution may have eventually led to a bifurcation of the arts and sciences, at this point they flourished together in a medium of co-operative exchange that promoted harmony rather than discord in difference: the two component parts of the title, the 'Age of Milton' and the 'Scientific Revolution', should rightly be seen as complementary rather than antagonistic, with Milton poised Janus-like, looking forward to the scientific enlightenments as well as back to Renaissance humanism.” — Modern Language Review "

Book Information:

In The Age of Milton and the Scientific Revolution, Angelica Duran reveals the way in which Milton's works interacted with the revolutionary work of his contemporaries in science to participate in the dynamic “advancement of learning” of the time period. Bringing together primary materials by early modern scientists, including Robert Boyle, William Gilbert, William Harvey, Isaac Newton, John Ray, and John Wilkins as well as educational reformers such as Samuel Hartlib and Henry Oldenburg, The Age of Milton and the Scientific Revolution positions Milton's Literary Studies as a coequal partner with the new cosmological theories, mathematical developments, telescopes, and scientific tracts that so thoroughly affected every aspect of recorded life in seventeenth century England. Duran shows, for example, how new developments in ornithology worked to shape the Lady's power in the young Milton's celebratory A Mask, how mathematics informed the sexual relationship of Adam and Eve in his mature epic Paradise Lost, and how developments in optics transformed the blinded hero of the blind author's moving tragedy Samson Agonistes. While this study is indebted to the work of historians of science⎯from C. P. Snow and Thomas Kuhn to Stephen Shapin and Stephen Jay Gould⎯it is not a history of science per se, but rather a cultural study that appreciates poetry as a unique lens through which early modern England's large-scale developments in education and science are clarified and reflected. What emerges is an intimate sense of how the enormous changes of the English Scientific Revolution affected individual lives and found their ways into Milton's enduring poetry and prose.

Author Information:

ANGELICA DURAN is associate professor of English and comparative Literary Studies at Purdue University. She is also the editor for A Concise Companion to Milton (2007) and on the editorial board of Milton Quarterly.


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