Paradise Lost: And Its Critics

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CUP Archive, Jan 2, 1961 - Literary Criticism - 147 pages
Professor Waldock rejects the common critical urge, at the time of this book's publication in 1961, to assert that certain parts of Paradise Lost conflict with Milton's stated aim. Instead he argues that, because Milton recounts the difficult first chapters of Genesis at such length and in such imaginative detail, he disconcerts his readers. Milton's poetic power gives Adam and Eve at the moment of the Fall such human attractiveness that it is impossible to condemn them. The magnificent figure of Satan is consistently more appealing than Milton's God; and by a fatal lack of literary tact God is presented directly and quoted at length. This leads Milton into absurd literalisms and sometimes into evasiveness and self-contradiction and produces a conflict between what Milton meant to do and what the poem actually does. Professor Waldock's witty critical arguments appeal to the reader's direct and unprompted response to the poetry.

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Contents

PREFACE page
1
Unconscious Meanings in Paradise Lost
119
Conclusion
139
INDEX OF WRITERS 149

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