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Milton in the Long Restoration$
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Blair Hoxby and Ann Baynes Coiro

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198769774

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198769774.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 16 May 2022

Milton’s Spots

Milton’s Spots

Addison on Paradise Lost

(p.7) 1 Milton’s Spots
Milton in the Long Restoration

Denise Gigante

Oxford University Press

Joseph Addison, in a series of Spectator papers on Paradise Lost, defined the principles of English literary taste. Thus much we know. Yet in order to identify what was distinctively Miltonic about Milton, Addison found himself contending with the very thing he wished to avoid, or at least to downplay, namely, the authorial ‘blemish’ or ‘defect’. Reconceptualizing the defect as a ‘spot’—which we shall consider as based upon Horace’s maculae (spots) from Ars poetica, the Venetian school of pittura à macchia (spot-painting), and Galileo’s diagrams of sunspots—Addison described a higher, more sublime form of beauty coincident with genius. Ironically, therefore, Addison’s reading of Milton posits a Romantic perspective at the heart of his own neoclassical aesthetics.

Keywords:   Milton, Paradise Lost, Addison, The Spectator, spots, macchia/macula, sun, taste, Galileo

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