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Feeling PleasuresThe Sense of Touch in Renaissance England$
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Joe Moshenska

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198712947

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198712947.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 08 December 2021

‘Transported Touch’

‘Transported Touch’

The Experience of Feeling in Paradise Lost

(p.244) (p.245) 8 ‘Transported Touch’
Feeling Pleasures

Joe Moshenska

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins with the angel Raphael’s denunciation of the pleasures of touch as bestial and disordering in Paradise Lost, but argues that we should not accept this as Milton’s own last word on the matter. It is argued that touch plays a crucial role in Eden, where it underpins the rhythms of connubial coexistence and forms an important part of the ways in which Adam and Eve access and shape the material world in which they find themselves. However, experiences of thwarted or blighted touch are among the ways in which Satan’s experience repeatedly collapses, and Milton is aware of the suffering as well as the pleasurable mutuality that arises from the sense. The chapter closes by exploring the extrapolation from this ambiguity made by later writers steeped in Milton’s work: Richard Bentley, Alexander Pope, Thomas Gray, and William Wordsworth.

Keywords:   Milton, experience, angels, monism, creation

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