How Milton Works

ISBN-10: 067401233X
ISBN-13: 9780674012332
Edition: 2001
List price: $52.50 Buy it from $34.19
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Description: Stanley Fish's Surprised by Sin, first published in 1967, set a new standard for Milton criticism and established its author as one of the world's preeminent Milton scholars. The lifelong engagement begun in that work culminates in this book, the  More...

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Book details

List price: $52.50
Copyright year: 2001
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication date: 10/15/2003
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 640
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.25" long x 1.50" tall
Weight: 1.584
Language: English

Stanley Fish's Surprised by Sin, first published in 1967, set a new standard for Milton criticism and established its author as one of the world's preeminent Milton scholars. The lifelong engagement begun in that work culminates in this book, the magnum opus of a formidable critic and the definitive statement on Milton for our time. How Milton works "from the inside out" is the foremost concern of Fish's book, which explores the radical effect of Milton's theological convictions on his poetry and prose. For Milton the value of a poem or of any other production derives from the inner worth of its author and not from any external measure of excellence or heroism. Milton's aesthetic, says Fish, is an "aesthetic of testimony": every action, whether verbal or physical, is or should be the action of holding fast to a single saving commitment against the allure of plot, narrative, representation, signs, drama--anything that might be construed as an illegitimate supplement to divine truth. Much of the energy of Milton's writing, according to Fish, comes from the effort to maintain his faith against these temptations, temptations which in any other aesthetic would be seen as the very essence of poetic value. Encountering the great poet on his own terms, engaging his equally distinguished admirers and detractors, this book moves a 300-year debate about the significance of Milton's verse to a new level.

Stanley Eugene Fish, who writes on law and literary criticism and history, was born on April 19, 1938, in Providence, Rhode Island. He was educated at the University of Pennsylvania and Yale University. Fish holds a Ph.D. from Yale. During his career, he has held major academic posts, serving as Kenan Professor of English at Johns Hopkins University from 1974 to 1985 and as Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of English and Law at Duke University since 1985. He is known for his expertise in English literature and literary theory, particularly the subjectivity of textual interpretation. Fish's works include Is There a Text in This Class?: The Authority of Interpretative Communities, 1980 and Doing What Comes Naturally: Change, Rhetoric, and the Practice of Theory in Literary and Legal Studies, 1989. He received a Guggenheim fellowship in 1969.

Introduction
The Miltonic Paradigm
How Milton Works Milton's Aesthetic of Testimony
Problem Solving in Comus Unblemished Form
The Paradigm under the Pressure of Time, Interpretation, and Death
Driving from the Letter: Truth and Indeterminacy in Milton's Areopagitica
Wanting a Supplement: The Question of Interpretation in Milton's
Early Prose Lycidas: A Poem Finally Anonymous
With Mortal Voice: Milton Defends against the Muse
The Counter-Paradigm
The Temptation to Action
The Temptation of Speech
The Temptation of Plot
The Temptation of Understanding
The Temptation of Intelligibility
The Paradigm Reaffirmed (Almost) without Apology
Gently Raised "On Other Surety None"
Epilogue: The Temptation of History and Politics
Notes
Credits
Index

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