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By Marshall Grossman

Grossman examines the narrative type of Paradise misplaced to find Milton's completely sleek suggestion of self. Banished from paradise, the epic poem's protagonists turn into "authors to themselves in all/Both what they pass judgement on and what they choose," left to create their very own tale relating to the tale already written through God. Grossman believes the ensuing constitution of the poem needs to be understood within the context of seventeenth-century ancient and theological advancements, in particular Bacon's idea of historical past as development and Protestant theology's proposal of the internal voice. The publication attracts upon fresh works in hermeneutics and analytic historical past to strengthen the argument that there's a universal constitution to the event of time in motion and in narrative. In constructing this thesis, Grossman attracts at the paintings Stephen Greenblatt, Ricoeur, Todorov, Genette, Derrida, and Lacan to build an unique interpreting of Paradise misplaced that might fascinate Miltonists, experts in seventeenth-century literature, and readers involved in narrative idea.

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Additional resources for Authors to Themselves: Milton and the Revelation of History

Sample text

Refusing to accept his place in the intersubjective society of heaven, Satan prefers to enact his fantasies of power. God responds by throwing him into a world where those fantasies are unrestrained by material creation. In such a world the dialectic of metonymy and synedoche, of part and whole, outlined at the start of this chapter, cannot be achieved, and Satan is condemned to pursue eternally his own image, lost in the metonymic objects seized by his desire. Satan uses rhetoric not only as a tool to persuade others, but to shield himself from the truth.

The organization of relationships among actors and objects in any discourse may be opposed to a different organization that represents a different tropic configuration, and thereby, an alternative notion of relatedness. Narrative discourse in particular may be thought of as a series of alternative descriptions, joined to each other through transitions from one trope to another. Milton's narrative offers these alternative configurations as a temporal series, in which narrative closure represents the final configuration as synecdochially including all the others.

The narrative form corresponding to the demonic rhetoric of metonymy and irony is patterned or periodic repetition - a fact that will later be figured in the divine discourse by the condemnation of the devils to the yearly reenactment of the temptation of man (X. 575-7). This narrative of repetition is, however, enclosed in the narrative of Milton's epic through the narrator's adjustments of perspective, through the displacement from the fictive present to the anticipated end of time, which we have already discussed, and through a series of mediating shifts in point of view.

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