Conceptualising paradise: genre and ecology in the works of John Milton

Cook, Elizabeth Mary (2019). Conceptualising paradise: genre and ecology in the works of John Milton. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis adopts a combined interdisciplinary approach to the established practice of reading John Milton ecocritically, arguing that there is a distinct ‘longing for paradise’ in Milton’s works that is inextricably bound up in a sense of ecological awareness. It takes as its chief focus Milton’s re- working of the paradise trope, arguing that approaching Milton’s works from the dual perspectives of both genre studies and ecocritical studies provides new interpretations about Milton’s overall portrayal of the Garden of Eden. It proposes a reconsideration of some of the more traditionally associated genres, such as the pastoral and the Hexameron, and argues for the inclusion of other, understudied genres, including the burgeoning discipline of early modern geography and the medieval dream vision genre. I argue that this more traditional exploration of genre is ultimately heavily informed by Milton’s historical environmental context. I assert that Milton’s use of this context is evidence of a burgeoning ecological awareness on his part that manifests itself particularly through his use of nationalistic language and expression. Approaching the concept of a longing for paradise in Milton’s works from this binary approach, I demonstrate that there are still new ways of thinking about Milton’s representation of Paradise in an ecocritical light, bringing something new to Milton studies.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: Department of English Literature, School of English, Drama and American and Canadian Studies
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature


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