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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, 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: 23 January 2022

Paradise Lost and English Mock Heroic

Paradise Lost and English Mock Heroic

(p.465) 25 Paradise Lost and English Mock Heroic
Milton in the Long Restoration

Anthony Welch

Oxford University Press

Tracing early forms of Miltonic parody, travesty, and burlesque from Dryden to Pope, this chapter argues that the period’s mock-heroic responses to Paradise Lost were closely tied to the fortunes of traditional epic and heroic poetry in England. Milton’s mock-epic heirs grappled with his poetry not in isolated single combats, but in ongoing confrontations with competing cultural forms, rival interpretations, and appropriations of Paradise Lost that laid their own claims to Milton’s art. Early mock-heroic writers took a special interest in the uses and misuses of Milton’s poem within the English neoclassical epic tradition. The chapter shows how a diverse group of writers exploited the comic strains in Paradise Lost to satirize the heroic poetry of Richard Blackmore, Samuel Wesley, John Dennis, and their Williamite allies, in a contest over both Milton’s legacy and the cultural status of Europe’s epic canon.

Keywords:   epic, mock epic, satire, Paradise Lost, Joseph Addison, Richard Blackmore, John Dryden, Samuel Garth, Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope

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