Toward Samson Agonistes
The Growth of Milton's Mind
Mary Ann Radzinowicz


The endurance of a work of art such as Samson Agonistes, this book suggests, derives from its incorporation of the principle of change as the very foundation of its permanence. In a deft and perceptive analysis, Mary Ann Radzinowicz shows how the poem embodies the principle of change, reveals Milton's perpetual concerns, and illuminates the course of his poetic and intellectual development.

The author holds that Samson Agonistes represents the culmination of Milton's poetic œuvre. Its subject is growth, and the tragedy imitates a Biblical story of movement from self-destruction to self-transcendence. In each section of her book, the author considers the poem in a different context or area of Milton's thought. Each new aspect suggests a widening circle of implication as the discussion moves from Milton's dialectic to the representation of tragic failure, from change and growth as themes to the discovery of history as tragic design.

First published in 1978.

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