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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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Paradise Lost in the Long Restoration, 1660–1742

Paradise Lost in the Long Restoration, 1660–1742

The Parody of Form

(p.503) 27 Paradise Lost in the Long Restoration, 1660–1742
Milton in the Long Restoration

Michael McKeon

Oxford University Press

We think of Paradise Lost in the ‘Renaissance’ context of Ariosto, Spenser, et al., but there’s much to be gained from reading it in the context in which it was published, the Restoration period. Butler’s Hudibras, Behn’s Love-Letters, Dryden’s Absalom and Achitophel—these works share with Milton’s a self-conscious attention to epic, allegory, and romance, traditional forms both ancient and divine that can be parodied in such a way as to both preserve and supersede them. Their authors write at a singular historical moment, when formal parody is able to bridge the gap between the old forms, which are known but of questionable promise, and forms that are apt but unknown. The results are radical experiments in proto-modernity.

Keywords:   allegory, epic, romance, typology, parody, literary form

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