Altering Eyes: New Perspectives on Samson Agonistes by Mark R. Kelley, Joseph Wittreich

By Mark R. Kelley, Joseph Wittreich

The essays during this quantity carry lower than scrutiny conventional interpretations of what's greatly thought of Milton's final poem. As such the essays in changing Eyes are an imitation of the writings they'd remove darkness from, that's to assert that they're "methodologically adventurous, " no longer basically "assimilative, " and may do the type of paintings that a lot Milton feedback of contemporary a long time has resisted. obvious in these kind of essays is a deep alliance, an interdependency among background, literature, and idea. right here philosophy and psychology, overseas legislation, economics, ethics, criminal thought, aesthetics and biblical hermeneutics, the legislation of style and customary ameliorations, republican politics, comparative faith all come into play. as a result of paths they pursue and the serious methodologies they installation, those 11 essays revise not just previous feedback but in addition each other with the identify of this quantity, changing Eyes, in its invocation of Blake's clever injunction that the attention changing alters all, serving as their highbrow and methodological, paradigm.

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Additional info for Altering Eyes: New Perspectives on Samson Agonistes

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The Works of John Milton, ed. Frank Allen Patterson, 18 vols. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1931–38). In this edition, Samson Agonistes is printed in part 2 of volume 1, and Paradise Regain’d is printed in part 2 of volume 2. While the separate publication of Samson Agonistes was a phenomenon of the late eighteenth century, a Dublin edition of 1724 first paired Paradise Lost . . Together with Paradise Regain’d in two volumes that could be sold separately. See K. A. Coleridge, A Descriptive Catalogue, 224–25.

Milton uses the prospect of Samson’s regained sight to recall that ‘‘to Israels God / Nothing is hard’’ (P3v/1527–28), not even, by implication, overthrowing Charles II and returning England to a republican government. In the context of the 1671 volume, however, the possibility of the Omissa also serves as a warning. If Milton after the failure of the Civil War did not retreat to an inner paradise, he also no longer held any illusions about political activism. The author of Eikonoklastes and former Secretary for Foreign Languages under the Commonwealth, Milton had gone into hiding after the Restoration, was briefly imprisoned, and witnessed the censure and execution of many of his friends and collaborators—‘‘thir carkasses / To dogs and fowls a prey, or else captiv’d,’’ as the Chorus tells Samson (L7r/693–94).

God who caus’d a fountain at thy prayer From the dry ground to spring, thy thirst to allay After the brunt of battle, can as easie Cause light again within thy eies to spring. (L4r-L4v/581–84) Manoa, too, optimistically predicted that ‘‘since his strength with eye-sight was not lost, / God will restore him eye-sight to his strength’’ (O4v/1502–3). 32. Stanley Fish, ‘‘Spectacle and Evidence in Samson Agonistes,’’ Critical Inquiry 15 (spring 1989): 556–86 (these quotations, 567, 586), as well as his earlier essay, ‘‘Question and Answer in Samson Agonistes,’’ Critical Quarterly 11 (autumn 1969): 237–64.

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