Study of the Place of Women in the Poetry and Prose Works of John Milton

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Outlines the origins of Milton’s idiosyncratic ambivalence towards woman and charts its developmental character in and out of poetry and prose. It includes an introductory survey of influential critical opinion on the subject, including feminist readings. Subsequent chapters contain close textual analysis which attempts to uncover the secret animus of Milton’s major and minor poetry and the domestic prose works selected.


“This is an imaginative scholarly contribution to Milton studies, one with a very clear, purposeful ambition, namely to deepen our understanding and appreciation of Milton’s representation of women in his major and minor works. . . this is a timely and provocative addition to current debates about Milton, seventeenth century verse, and versions of patriarchy. The style of the ‘Introduction’, lucid, direct and energetic, sets the tone for the whole work, which is a very accessible read, but always presented with scholarly rigour and authority. . . The author shows a detailed and intimate knowledge of this work, and has constructed a skilful and forceful argument which combines sound textual knowledge with sensitive and persuasive biographical understanding. In other words, this is very much the kind of approach which students and scholars expect today, one which displays a range of critical skills, and an ability to synthesise them. It has much to offer the specialist, and has much to encourage the undergraduate.” – Professor Joseph McMinn

“Dickey demonstrates that his theme leads into the heart of Milton’s imaginative endeavour and so the reader comes away with impression of having read a broader study than the title might lead one to expect. The standard of scholarship is high throughout, but the scholarship is never intrusive and the reader has the constant feeling of lively and untrammeled critical engagement with Milton’s poetry and prose. Refreshingly, the prose is not simply considered for the light it sheds on the poetry but is paid the implicit compliment of being considered an imaginative product in its own right. . . . a valuable and attractive contribution to Milton studies.” – Dr. A. J. Thacker

Table of Contents

Table of contents (chapter headings):
Preface; Introduction
1. An introduction to the critical debate on Milton and woman
2. Taking liberties with Comus
3. Celibacy and marriage: Paradise Confused
4. Woman in Paradise Lost: Devils and Angels
5. Woman in Paradise Lost – Yet Once More (Correcting Angels)
Conclusion; Select bibliography; Index

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