THE HUMANISM OP PARADISE LOST by DAVID STUART REID M.A., St. Andrews, 1961 THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in the Department of English We aooept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA March, 1976 (5) David Stuart Reid, 1976 In presenting th is thesis in par t ia l fu l f i lment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the Library shal l make i t f reely avai lable for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of th is thesis for scholar ly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his representatives. It is understood that copying or publ icat ion of th is thesis for f inanc ia l gain shal l not be allowed without my writ ten permission. Department of The University of B r i t i s h Columbia 2075 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5 Date 3 0 ^ AM Abstract i i Problem; I f humanism i s the study of man through letters, the humanism of Paradise Lost should be a matter of the poem's study of man, i t s criticism of l i f e . But i t i s not clear how a poem whose action turns on a divine rather than moral imperative can afford a criticism of l i f e . Approach; To place the problem i n a context of discussion, I 1) examine how neoclassical humanism developed as a study of man and how i t accommodated the Christian study of the w i l l ; 2) compare The Lusiad, Jerusalem Delivered, Paradise Lost, and Absalom and Achitophel as expressions of neoclassical humanism. Conclusions; 1 ) Neoclassical humanism was based on eloquence. For neoclassical 3tudia humanitatis and poetics, literature i s the didactic application of moral ideas to l i f e . Epic i s the institutional form. The Lusiad, Jerusalem Delivered, Paradise Lost and Absalom unfold i n universal schemes of moral images. But Paradise Lost goes beyond ideal imitation. Answering to Aristotle's idea of imitation, i t s action unfolds as an analysis of volition. 2) Although based on eloquence, neoclassical humanism developed a serious criticism of l i f e . Out of the rhetorical notion of the commonplace developed a method reading and making observations, at work i n Montaigne's Essays and Pope's Moral Essays. Out of the notion of eloquence as discourse f i t t e d to human concerns urbanity developed, a sense of what humans are l i k e . A lit e r a r y culture capable of making c r i t i c a l discriminations developed from an uncritically classicising one. The fine adjustment of Dryden's i i i eloquence to the actual conditions of authority and c i v i l i s a t i o n contrasts with the simpler ideal discriminations of Camoens' or Tasso's. In Paradise Lost Milton tries to realize an ideal of human conversation. 3) The notion of eloquence as discourse f i t t e d to human concerns implied a critique of discourse and learning that had no hearing on human concerns, notably of speculative science and the scholastic curriculum. Milton's treatment of forbidden knowledge belongs to this humanist critique of vain learning. ?/ith this critique went a view, featured i n the invocations of Paradise Lost, of the creaturely condition of man i n his middle state. The actions of Paradise Lost and Absalom turn on the loss and restoration of f i n i t e oreatureliness, whereas those of The Lusiad and Jerusalem Delivered featuring an earlier, less c r i t i c a l , humanism, are directed to the divinisation of man. 4) In many of their moral and c i v i l i z i n g concerns Christianity and neoclassical humanism overlap. Protestantism particularly might agree with humanism on the importance of textual studies and human oreatureliness. The Christian study of the w i l l , however, remained inaccessible to humanist interpretation. Yet while Milton's Christian Doctrine f a l l s short of Paul's or Luther's insights into the free and bound w i l l , the analysis of volition i n Paradise Lost works out some of these insights as an imitation of a human action. In this interpretation of the Christian study of the w i l l Paradise Lost both makes i t s most valuable criticism of l i f e and goes beyond . the usual neoclassical humanist study of man. iv 5) Summary: In i t s concern with the creaturely limits of human learning and the middle state, Paradise Lost belongs to a stage of humanism realised more characteristically by Montaigne and the Augustan humanists. But Milton's study of the w i l l i s exceptional i n neoclassical humanism i n both i t s penetration into how Christian ideas apply to l i f e and i t s literary form of imitation. Yet i t i s here we can most f u l l y talk of Milton's criticism of l i f e and so of the humanism of Paradise Lost. V TABLE OF CONTENTS Page Abstract i i i Preface v i Introduction 1 A. Humanism and Humanist Criticism 1 B. Humanist Criticism of Paradise Lost 7 1. The Problem 7 2. C r i t i c s 9 a. Addison and Johnson 9 b. Arnold 12 c. Empson 16 d. Johnson, Arnold, Empson Reviewed 17 e. Further Treatments 19 3. Historical C r i t i c s 21 4. A Proposal for Historical Criticism 25 C. An Approach to Paradise Lost and Neoclassical Humanism 28 Chapter 1. Protestantism and the Study of the W i l l 34 A. Introduction 34 B. Reformation and Humanism 35 C. Paul and Luther on the W i l l 46 1. Introduction 46 2. Arnold and the Pauline C r i s i s 47 3. Paul and Luther on the Freedom and Bondage of the W i l l 53 D. Conclusion 64 Chapter 2. Montaigne's Study of Man 66 A. Introduction 66 B. Montaigne on Human Rationality and Creatureliness 68 C. Montaigne's Study of Man and the Christian Study of the W i l l 75 Chapter 3» Eloquence and the Study of Man 85 A. The Idea of Orator and Man of Letters 85 B. The Remoteness of Eloquence 88 C. The Mechanical Study of Rhetoric 94 D. Commonplace and Observation 96 E. Urbanity 111 F. Conclusion 130 Chapter 4. Eloquence and Speculative Philosophy 131 A. Introduction 131 B. Eloquence against Scholasticism 134 C. The Union of Philosophy and Eloquence i n Renaissance Humanism 147 D. Renaissance Platonism 160 v i Page Chapter 5» The Development of the Neoclassical Epic 175 A. Introduction 175 B. The Improbability of Neoclassical Epic 175 C. A r i s t o t e l i a n Imitation 180 D. Ideal Imitation 182 E. Ideal Imitation and Eloquence 188 F. Neoclassical Epics 191 1. Introduction 191 2. The Lusiad 197 3. Jerusalem Delivered 210 4. Paradise Lost 227 a. Introduction 227 b. The Heroic Action of Paradise Lost 228 c. Ideal Imitation i n Paradise Lost 237 1. Introduction 237 2. Images of the Unfalien Universe 241 3. Images of F a l l e n Creation 268 d. Summary 283 5. Absalom and Achitophel 285 Chapter 6. Paradise Lost as an Imitation of an Action 307 A. Humanism and the C h r i s t i a n Study of the W i l l 307 B. The Imitation of the Motions of the W i l l i n 319 Paradise Lost 1. Theology of G-race 319 2. The Son 323 3. Satan's F a l l 327 4. Adam and Eve 344 a. F i r s t Peripety: The F a l l 344 b. Second Peripety: Continuing F a l l and Repentance 365 C. Conclusion 385 Chapter 7» Forbidden Knowledge and Conclusion 390 A. Forbidden Knowledge and Augustan Humanism 390 B. Forbidden Knowledge and Baconian Empiricism 396 C. Dispensation of Knowledge i n Paradise Lost 402 D. Cosmic F l i g h t s i n Milton 418 1. Early Work 418 2. The Invocation to Book 3 ^23 E. Humanist Use of Universal Perspectives 435 F. Conclusion 441 Bibliography 445 v i i Preface A l l quotations of Milton's poetry are taken from The Poetical Works of John Milton, ed. Helen Darbishire, 2 vols. (Oxf.: Clarendon, 1952—55). I have also found The Poems of John Milton, ed. John Carey and Alastair Fowler (London: Longmans, 1968) of great use (cited Carey and Fowler). A l l quotations of Milton's prose, unless otherwise noted, are taken from Complete Prose Works of John Milton, ed. Don M. Wolfe et a l . , 17 vols, (incomplete) (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1953—74). My argument f a l l s into three parts: an introduction, which lays out the problem of the humanism of Paradise Lost and suggests the lines of approach; chapters one to four, an essay i n ideas, which attempts to characterize the Protestant study of the w i l l and the neoclassical humanist study of man; and chapters five to seven, a literary analysis of Paradise Lost, which discusses i t s treatment of the f a l l and restoration of man and i t s idea of forbidden knowledge i n the context of the preceding discussion. In the second part, the essay i n ideas, I have set out to establish the problematic relations of Christianity and humanism by considering two extreme statements, the Pauline and Lutheran study of the w i l l , i n Chapter one, and Montaigne's discussion of Christianity i n Chapter two. In Chapters three and four, I have taken eloquence as the informing principle of neo-classical humanism and attempted to show how i t developed a mature study of man and a critique of vain learning. I argue from this development that, however extreme their statements, Luther and Montaigne penetrate to the underlying configuration of Christianity and neoclassical humanism. In the terms set up by this discussion Milton's tueatment of the Christian study of the w i l l i s characterized as anomalous for a work of neoclassical humanism. v i i i In the third part, which turns to lit e r a r y analysis, I have tried to show how Paradise Lost i s both at one with the concerns of neoclassical humanism and goes beyond them. In chapter five I take up the humanist idea of eloquence as i t informs the poetry of ideal imitation. Through a comparative study of four neoclassical epics, I try to bring out a develop-ment towards a mature criticism of l i f e similar to the one emerging i n chapters three and four. The Lusiad and Jerusalem Delivered represent an earlier and less c r i t i c a l stage, Paradise Lost and Absalom and Aohitophel, a later and maturer stage of neoclassical humanism. In chapter six I analyse the action of Paradise Lost i n terms, not of ideal imitation, but of the Aristotelian notion of the imitation of an action. This brings out how Paradise Lost does not entirely f i t inside the ordinary forms of neo-classical humanism. The form i s , moreover, adapted to representing what i s an unusual concern for neoclassical humanism, namely the Christian study of the w i l l . I draw the conclusion that Paradise Lost i s greatest as a humanist study of man precisely where neoclassical humanism generally re-linquished the study of the w i l l to purely religious and devotional treat-ment. In chapter seven, I turn from the singularity of Paradise Lost to what i t shares with the development of neoclassical humanism, arguing that Milton's treatment of forbidden knowledge and his poetic inspiration goes with the humanist critique of vain learning and a sharpened sense the precarious standing of man i n his middle state. I wish to express my warmest thanks to my supervisory committee, Prof. Jan de Bruyn (supervisor), Prof. Roy Daniells (who served at an earlier stage), 1 _c Prof.' Alexander G-lobe, and Prof. Ian Ross, for their help and criticism. INTRODUCTION A Humanism and Humanist Criticism We can talk of the humanism of Paradise Lost i n two ways. Historically there i s the question of the place of Paradise Lost i n what I shall c a l l neoclassical humanism. C r i t i c a l l y , there i s the question of the poem's place i n our own humanism. An answer to the f i r s t question i s not necess-a r i l y an answer to the second. S t i l l I propose to approach the c r i t i c a l question through a discussion of the historical one. Before I lay out these questions more f u l l y , I should say something about the sense i n which I shall be talking of humanism and humanists. A humanist, as I shall speak of him, i s a student of letters who thinks his study i s useful. The use of his study i s that i t looks at what humans are like or ought to be l i k e ; or i f one prefers a less definite formulation, i t looks at what human experience i s like or ought to be l i k e . In other words for the humanist, the study of the letters i s the study of man. But, and this i s an important qualification, the student i s human himself and his study i s a way of enlarging his humanity. He studies man through man's traditions i n order to acquire for himself what i s valuable i n them. His study of man i s a means of becoming human. This description holds I think for neoclassical humanism as well as for our own. Neoclassical humanism, of course, approached the study of man i n very different ways from ours and i n -volved many concerns that are not ours. Nevertheless, I think the descript-ions I have offered layshold of what i s essential to humanism as an ongoing concern of c i v i l i s a t i o n i n any age. We should distinguish the humanist study of man from a study of man that dissociates the student from the humanity he studies. I t seems to me that much social science i s dissociative i n this way and at the same time reduces 2 1 the humanity i t studies. I t i s with such a study of man as with those Metaphysical poets of whom Johnson wrote, "They never enquired what, on any occasion, they should have said or done, hut wrote rather as beholders than partakers of human nature; as Beings looking upon good and evil, impassive and at leisure; as Epicurean deities making remarks upon the actions of men, 2 and the vicissitudes of l i f e , without interest and without emotion". The study of literature may also be dissociative. The theory of criticism Northrop Fiye proposes i n his Anatomy of Criticism i s a case i n point. In the system he outlines there, the study of what a work of l i t e r a -ture has to say about experience, i t s intelligence about l i f e , would be dealt with on what he calls the "formal 1 1 l e v e l . In his hierarchical scheme, this level i s subsumed f i n a l l y under archetypal criticism. For archetypal criticism i s the study of the master forms of literature and i n Frye's scheme the highest level of criticism, the closest to realizing what he conceives to be the nature of literature.^ Whatever i t s virtues, the whole thrust of Frye's system i s away from the study of literature as the criticism None of the pronouncements on sociological method that I have read deals adequately with the problem of self-reference inherent i n the study of man. E.g. Emile Durkheim, The Division of Labour, t r . George Simpson (New York: Macmillan, 1935), pp.32—37; Max Weber, G-esamelte Aufs'atze zur Religion-sooiologie (Tubingen: Mohr, 1920—21), I, 536—37; Claude Levi-Strauss, The Savage Mind (Chicago: Univ. of Chic. Press, 1966), pp.245—69. A general introduction to the problems of sociology, Robert Murphy, The Dia- lec t i c s of Social L i f e : Alarms and Excursions i n Anthropological Theory (New York: Basic Books, 1971), PP .5—11, touches on the contradictions tangentially. 2 Samuel Johnson^ "Life of Cowley", Lives of the Poets (London: w . Iuekland^179^j zI» 16.< • ^ Northrop Fxye, Anatomy of Criticism (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton Univ. Press, 1957), pp.83—84. Consider the phases of his second essay, "Ethical Criticism", Anatomy, pp.71—128. 3 of l i f e , which i s the humanist study of literature. The problems of the content of the individual work and how i t refleots and represents experience are displaoed onto the level of l i t e r a r y form. And in this, Frye's system i s l i k e Cassirer's philosophy, where philosophical problems are displaced onto a level 5 of the phenomenology of symbolio forma. But i t i s not simply because the Anatomy plays down the study of the l i t e r a r y work as a criticism of l i f e that we may contrast i t s proposal for a systematic criticism of literature with the humanist study of literature. The vision of man to which archetypal oritioism leads i s dissoolated from the oondition of being human. "When we pass into anagogy, nature beoomes, not the container, but the thing contained, and the arohetypal universal symbols, the oity, the garden, the quest, the marriage, are no longer the desirable forms that man constructs inside nature, but are themselves the forms of nature. Nature i s now inside the mind of an i n f i n i t e Man who builds his oitles out of the Milky Way. This i s not reality, but i t i s the conceivable or imaginative l i m i t of desire* whioh i s i n f i n i t e , eternal, and hence apooalyptio".^ As Prye makes clear, he does not mean to be taken too l i t e r a l l y . S t i l l i t i s , I think, significant that 5 Prye*s study of literature oomes in faot very close to what (I hope without confusion) I shall c a l l Cassirer's idealist humanism. A brief statement of t h i 3 can be found i n Ernst Oassirer, The Logio of the Humanities, t r . Clarenoe Smith Howe (New Havens Yale Univ. Press, 1961)> p.20i"The very fact that man i s oapable of this productivity i s precisely what stands out as the unique and distinguishing oharaoteristio of human nature. "Humanitas". in the widest sense of the word, denotes that completely universal —- and in this very universality, unique — medium in whioh 'form', as suoh, oomes into being and i n whioh i t oan develop and flourish 1*. The position i s worked out i n detail i n the Philosophy of Symbolic Fonns, 3 vols. (New Haven* Yale Univ. Press, 1955—57 )» See also his Essay on Man (New Haven* Yale Univ. Press, 1944). Compare this attitude with the idealist humanism of Coleridge's c r i t i c a l position on Milton (note 19 below). See also Charles A l t i e r i . "Northrop Prye and the Problem of Spiritual Authority", PMLA. 87 (1972), 964—65. Anatomy, p.119* 4 this strangely gnostic vision of man i s what Frye's study of literature leads to. I t i s remarkably like the Renaissance platonists* vision of man, Ficino's, for example, i n his Platonic Theology; In works of art one may observe how man lay3 hold of a l l the materials of the universe as i f a l l things were subject to him. He lays hold, I say, of the elements, stones, metals, plants, and animals and makes them into many forms and figures (something no animal ever did). Nor i s he content with one element or several, as animals are, but he uses them a l l . He strides the earth, ploughs the water, and ascends the a i r i n soaring towers, not to mention the wings of Daedalus or Icarus. He kindles f i r e , uses i t familiarly at his hearth and delights i n i t especially when alone. It i s with justice that only a heavenly creature takes delight i n a heavenly element. By his heavenly virtu he ascends to heaven and passes beyond. By his more than heavenly intellect he transcends heaven .... Man, therefore, who oversees the entire t o t a l i t y of things, animate and. inanimate, i s something of a god.' Later I shall try to distinguish neoclassical humanism from Renaissance platonism on the grounds that the platonist study of man does not attend to the experience of being human but seeks a manhood dissociated from the condition of being human. And i t w i l l be one of my arguments about Milton's 1 "In i i s a r t i f i c i i s animadvertere l i c e t , quemadmodum homo et omnes et undique tractat mundi materias, quasi homini omnes subiiciantur. Tractat, inquam, elementa, lapides, metalia, plantas et animalia, et i n multas traducit formas atqua figuras; quod numquam bestiae faciuntj Neque uno est elemento contentus aut quibusdam ut bruta, sed utitur omnibus, quasi s i t omnium dominus. Terram calcat, sulcat aquam, altissimis turribus coijscendit i n aerem, ut pennas Daedali vel Icari praetermittam, Accendit ignem et foco familiariter utitur et delectatur praecipue ipse solus. Merito caelesti elemento solum caeleste animal delectatur. Caelesti virtute ascendit caelum atque metitur. Supercaelesti mente transcendit caelum .... Homo ig i t u r qui universaliter cunctis et viventibus providet est quidam Deus." Marsile Ficittj ., Theologie Platonicienne de l'Immortalite des Ames, ed. and t r . Ray-mon Marcel (Paris: Societe" d'Edition "Les Belles Lettres," 1964), 2, 224— 25. The translation i s mine. I t has benefitted from a number of suggestions from Professor G-lobe. See below, Ch .4, pp.l68ff. 5 humanism that his picture of man, his vision of human nature i n i t s complete and harmonious perfection, i s of a f i n i t e creature attentive to his creature-l y standing. Imaginative or figurative ways of conceiving the human con-dition are very much part of the lit e r a r y study of man. Prye's vision of man, dissociated or transported from the human condition, i s not accidental or idiosyncratic hut representative of a sort of study of literature that I should contrast with the humanist one. There are, of course, many other studies of literature, beside Prye's, that because i n one way or another they are dissociated from the humanity they study, are not humanist. But the Anatomy with i t s vision of i n f i n i t e man supplies the most arresting example. The chief consideration for the humanist study of literature i s the work as a criticism of l i f e , whioh the student shares in* which as a student of literature i t i s his business to gather to mind. Such a sort of criticism, i t may be said, can never be objective. And certainly, i f by objectivity we mean only the sort of judgement that can be made by dis-sociating ourselves from our humanity, the charge w i l l hold. The judgements, the attempts to see what things are really l i k e , that humanist criticism can make are indeed provisional, limited by the experience on which they are based, for example. But this need not imply complete subjective or hist o r i c a l relativism. Experience i s only to be had by individuals i n time. But a literary work that i s a criticism of l i f e i s an enlarging and general-izing of experience. And because i t shows a likeness of things, i t ca l l s on the reader for a weighing of his sense of what things are like against the work'3. In this weighing up there i s an opportunity for a detachment from mere time-bound subjectivity, an opportunity for the education of experience. Such a sort of criticism w i l l , I repeat, be inevitably See below, Ch.5, pp.284ff; Ch.c?, Ptssim. 6 provisional and probably fumbling. Yet i n the work of the great humanist c r i t i c s , Johnson comes to mind, or Arnold, or Leavis, or Winters, amidst much that i s impermanent or half-true, there occur enduring insights and problems. One keeps returning to them to get one's bearings. I t might be thought perhaps that Johnson's c r i t i c a l judgements are time-bound, of interest only to a historian of taste. Yet his judgement of Paradise Lost, for instance, far from being the echo of prevailing fashions, aroused i n -dignation when i t was published. What Johnson did was to take a reading of the poem, f a i r l y conventional at the time, and ask how i t measured up as a criticism of l i f e . Here his judgement was adverse: Paradise Lost i n his view was too sublime to have much bearing on human experience. While this judgement i s , I think, mistaken, i t remains valuable. The quality of his affirmation of the humanist concern with the criticism of l i f e cannot be passed byj and his judgement i s just that read more or less as Addison had read i t , Paradise Lost i s wanting by exacting standards of the criticism of l i f e . Johnson's judgement i s of i t s time i n the sense that he saw i n Para-dise Lo3t more or less what Addison had seen. But he goes beyond that by no means negligible understanding to a greater clarity about what had been seen. And there he seems to me to pose the central problem for the humanist criticism of Paradise Lost; how can a poem which i s so taken up with imagining things outside experience reflect upon the concerns of experience? We might take Johnson's achievement here as an example of the sort of thing humanist criticism might aim for, though hardly hope to attain, the winning of a p a r t i a l clarity about the reflection of akwork of literature upon l i f e . 7 B Humanist Criticism of "Paradise Lost" Nothing i s gained by huddling on "our great epio poet,*1 i n a promisouous heap, every sort of praise. Sooner or later the questions How does Milton's masterpiece really stand to us moderns, what are we to think of i t , what oan we get from it? must inevitably be asked and answered. 1 0 (Matthew Arnold, "A French C r i t i c on Milton") I. The Problem Paradise Lost i s a problem for humanist criticism beoause i t is re-ligious i n suoh a way that one asks whether i t s theologioal oonoerns exclude, or at least damage, a oonoem with the study of man. The question i s not imported from an idle antithesis of humanism and theology) i t is obvious and inevitable. Milton's three major works turn rather on obedienoe to the w i l l of God than on an issue of ordinary morality. I doubt whether Milton would have found a distinction between morality and the w i l l of God a paradox. At any rate, while presumably he held that obedienoe to the w i l l of God included ordinary morality, he ohose to treat extraordinary oases of obedienoe to the w i l l of God not included in ordin-ary morality. The Christ of Paradise Regained may exemplify temperance, and other virtues besides, but they are inoldental to his singular c a l l i n g from God to recover Paradise. He has to distinguish i n his temptations, not between general good and e v i l , but between what i s of God and what is not i n terms of his divine mission. The crux comes when he rejects with asperity the learning of Athens, the basis of humanistic culture. As for Samson, he may exemplify a development of the s p i r i t from despair to a regained oon-fidenoe i n his own worth, but Milton presents that development not as a general human experience but as a special waiting on a divine summons and a Essays Religious and Mixed, ed. R. H. Super (Ann Arbon Univ. of Mich. Press, 1972), p.186. 8 rejection of a l l those notions that are not i t . When i t comes, i t i s to the performance of an act hard to square with ordinary morality. And the issue i n Paradise Lost i s also theologically absolute. The eating of the apple may feature a range of f a i l i n g s , as Milton himself argues i n the Christian Doctrine. Yet i t i s from the transgression of Cod's prohibition that the general f a i l i n g follows i n terms both of the epic's moral logic and of the plot's narrative unfolding. Consequently Paradise Lost, like Paradise Re-gained and Samson, seems to be concerned with divine rather than human morality, and there are points where the divine morality seems not merely arbitrary but even at odds with a morally developed human nature. In Para-dise Lost there i s the additional d i f f i c u l t y that the creation and the innocence of man are not matters of experience, even ot religious experience (a form of human experience after a i l ) but belong to a revealed or mythical narrative that represents a state of affairs we can imagine but not know. The d i f f i c u l t y I am raising i s certainly not new. The problem of how the religious scheme of the poem bears on human concerns has, i n one form or another, occupied most serious criticism of Paradise Lost. A brief h i s t o r i -cal survey of the way the problem ha3 been met w i l l serve two purposes, f i r s t to place my own approach, second to distinguish various senses i n which "humanism" has been invoked for or against the poem and by placing them to keep them from interfering with the issue. The writers I shall be concerned with f a l l into two classes, c r i t i c s and historians of literature. Naturally there i s no sharp line dividing the two. Christian Doctrine, Bk.1, Ch.XI, t r . John Carey, ed. Maurice Kelley, Complete Prose. 6 (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1973), 383—84. 9 2. C r i t i c s a. Addison and Johnson Eighteenth century criticism probably comes closest to the sort of study of literature I have called humanist, though i t does not lay claim to the t i t l e . At any rate, both Addison and Johnson deal with Paradise Lost as a criticism of l i f e . A neoclassical discussion of epic could hardly avoid doing so since the epic was supposed to be a didactic form and consequently to represent human l i f e i n an indisputably c r i t i c a l fashion. Addison con-ceded so much to Le Bossu as to discover a moral i n the poem, "the most uni-versal and most useful that can be imagined", "that obedience to the w i l l of 12 Cod makes man happy, and that disobedience makes them miserable". Yet even i f Paradise Lost does i l l u s t r a t e this moral (can one deny that Para-dise Lost i s didactic or that i t enjoins obedience?), the problem of how i t bears on human concerns i s by no means solved. This emerges clearly when a modern c r i t i c contends that the poem " i s essentially a moral work, not a 13 metaphysical one" and that i t teaches obedience. What one wonders, does The Spectator. 369, The Works of Joseph Addison, ed. Richard Hurd and Henry C. Bohn (London: B e l l , 1893), 3, 282. Addison's way of qualifying Le Bossu's opinion i s worth noting: "Those who have read Bossu, and many cidtics who have written since his time, w i l l not pardon me i f I do not find out the particular moral which i s inculcated i n Paradise Lost. Though I can by no means think, with the last mentioned French author, that an epic writer f i r s t of a l l pitches upon a certain moral, as the groundwork and foundation of his poem, and afterwards finds out a story to i t : I am, however, of opinion, that no heroic poem ever was or can be made, from whence one great moral may not be deduced." For Le Bossu, see
UBC Theses and Dissertations
The humanism of Paradise Lost Reid, David Stuart 1976
Notice for Google Chrome users:
If you are having trouble viewing or searching the PDF with Google Chrome, please download it here instead.
If you are having trouble viewing or searching the PDF with Google Chrome, please download it here instead.
- 831-UBC_1976_A1 R43.pdf [ 28.61MB ]
- JSON: 831-1.0093916.json
- JSON-LD: 831-1.0093916-ld.json
- RDF/XML (Pretty): 831-1.0093916-rdf.xml
- RDF/JSON: 831-1.0093916-rdf.json
- Turtle: 831-1.0093916-turtle.txt
- N-Triples: 831-1.0093916-rdf-ntriples.txt
- Original Record: 831-1.0093916-source.json
- Full Text