This lecture on Books Seven and Eight of Paradise Lost focuses on Milton's account of the Creation. The poet's persistent interest in the imagery of digestion is explored with help from the proto-scientific theories of the seventeenth-century philosopher Paracelsus. The moment at which Milton names and assigns a gender to his muse is examined. Finally, Milton's use of gender in the Creation account is explored in light of previous discussions of the poem's complex sexual hierarchy; particular emphasis is placed on Raphael's similarly gendered account of celestial hierarchy in Book Eight.
A study of Milton's poetry, with some attention to his literary sources, his contemporaries, his controversial prose, and his decisive influence on the course of English poetry.
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