Milton’s Visual Imagination | Imagery in Paradise Lost


Stephen B. Dobranski


Critics have traditionally found fault with the descriptions and images in John Milton’s poetry and thought of him as an author who wrote for the ear more than the eye. In Milton’s Visual Imagination, Stephen B. Dobranski proposes that, on the contrary, Milton enriches his biblical source text with acute and sometimes astonishing visual details. He contends that Milton’s imagery – traditionally disparaged by critics – advances the epic’s narrative while expressing the author’s heterodox beliefs. In particular, Milton exploits the meaning of objects and gestures to overcome the inherent difficulty of his subject and to accommodate seventeenth-century readers. Bringing together Milton’s material philosophy with an analysis of both his poetic tradition and cultural circumstances, this book is a major contribution to our understanding of early modern visual culture as well as of Milton’s epic.

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