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 magisterial study combines massive erudition with great interpretive subtlety. Written with lucidity and wit, Inside 'Paradise Lost' provides an indispensable revisionary account of the Miltonic epic's relation to its epic predecessors and to literary tradition more generally."--Joshua Scodel, University of Chicago
"This is a comprehensive, freshly researched, and fully articulated reading of Paradise Lost as a whole. The results are revelatory. Astonishingly, some of Milton's unmistakable imitations of major predecessors are being cited here apparently for the first time. Quint's book is essential reading not only for Miltonists but also for scholars of comparative epic, the Renaissance's relation to the classics, and the classical tradition more generally. At the same time, the book's clear prose and careful analysis make it accessible to students."--Gordon Braden, University of Virginia
Table of Contents
Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by David Quint: