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Inside Paradise Lost:
Reading the Designs of Milton’s Epic
David Quint

One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2014
Shortlisted for the 2015 Christian Gauss Award, Phi Beta Kappa Society

Paperback | 2014 | $35.00 | ($24.50) / £24.95 | (£17.47) | ISBN: 9780691159744
344 pp. | 6 x 9
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Inside “Paradise Lost” opens up new readings and ways of reading Milton’s epic poem by mapping out the intricacies of its narrative and symbolic designs and by revealing and exploring the deeply allusive texture of its verse. David Quint’s comprehensive study demonstrates how systematic patterns of allusion and keywords give structure and coherence both to individual books of Paradise Lost and to the overarching relationship among its books and episodes. Looking at poems within the poem, Quint provides new interpretations as he takes readers through the major subjects of Paradise Lost—its relationship to epic tradition and the Bible, its cosmology and politics, and its dramas of human choice.

Quint shows how Milton radically revises the epic tradition and the Genesis story itself by arguing that it is better to create than destroy, by telling the reader to make love, not war, and by appearing to ratify Adam’s decision to fall and die with his wife. The Milton of this Paradise Lost is a Christian humanist who believes in the power and freedom of human moral agency. As this indispensable guide and reference takes us inside the poetry of Milton’s masterpiece, Paradise Lost reveals itself in new formal configurations and unsuspected levels of meaning and design.

David Quint is Sterling Professor of Comparative Literature at Yale University. His books include Epic and Empire, Cervantes’s Novel of Modern Times, and Montaigne and the Quality of Mercy (all Princeton).


"As in a great lecture, Quint never roams far from the language of the poem and as the first half of the book moves through the poem chronologically, it would be a particularly useful guide for advanced undergraduates."--Elizabeth Scott-Baumann, Times Literary Supplement

"This learned, groundbreaking study illuminates the intricate narrative patterns that are woven into the fabric of Paradise Lost and demonstrates the poem's deeply allusive relationship to prior epic. . . . This book is necessary reading for Miltonists and scholars interested in the epic tradition. And the clear prose and carefully articulated arguments make it fully accessible and helpful to less experienced readers."--Choice

"This learned, carefully pondered, and admirably lucid book combines some of the features of a scholarly monograph with those of a critical overview of Milton's greatest poem."--David Hopkins, Milton Quarterly

"For its playful style and learned approach, readers will relish, as I did, the chance to return to originals newly brought to light, to attend to delicious intricacies of text, to quarrel, even, with findings. This is a bravura performance, a deeply learned book that should be read by students and scholars of Renaissance comparative literature, and those interested in classical reception, and will be required reading for Milton scholars and students."--Sharon Achinstein, Renassiance Quarterly

"Some books matter for what they say, others for when they say it. Inside Paradise Lost matters for both these reasons, and especially for the latter. It is a timely aesthetic study which will be read and re-read by Milton scholars and students. It will be mined for its learning, discussed, challenged, and enjoyed. Literary studies will be so much the better for it."--Leah Whittington, The Cambridge Quarterly


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