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Single Imperfection: Milton, Marriage and Friendship (Medieval & Renaissance Literary Studies)
by:Thomas H. Luxon
This book takes a fresh look at John Miltons major poems -- Paradise Lost, Samson Agonistes and Paradise Regained -- and a few of the minor ones in light of a new analysis of Miltons famous tracts on divorce. Luxon contends that Miltons work is best under-stood as part of a major cultural project in which Milton assumed a leading role -- the redefinition...
This book takes a fresh look at John Miltons major poems -- Paradise Lost, Samson Agonistes and Paradise Regained -- and a few of the minor ones in light of a new analysis of Miltons famous tracts on divorce. Luxon contends that Miltons work is best under-stood as part of a major cultural project in which Milton assumed a leading role -- the redefinition of Protestant marriage as a heteroerotic version of classical friendship, originally a homoerotic cultural practice. Schooled in the humanist notion that man was created as a godlike being, Milton also believed that what marked man as different from God is loneliness. Miltons reading of Genesis -- it is not good for man to be alone -- prescribes a wife as the remedy for this 'single imperfection', but Milton thought marriage had fallen to such a degraded state that it required a reformation. As a humanist, Milton looked to classical culture, especially to Plato, Aristotle and Cicero, for a more dignified model of human relations -- friendship. Milton reimagined marriage as a classical friendship, without explicitly conceptualising the issues of gender construction. Nor did he allow the chief tenet of classical friendship, equality, to claim a place in reformed marriage. The book traces the path of friendship theory through Miltons epistolary friendship with Charles Diodati, his elegies, divorce pamphlets and major poems. The book will prompt even more reinterpretations of Miltons poetry in an age that is anxiously redefining marriage once again.
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