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Nation and Nurture in Seventeenth-Century English Literature$
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Rachel Trubowitz

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199604739

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199604739.001.0001

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“I was his nursling once”: Internationalism and “nurture holy” in Samson Agonistes

“I was his nursling once”: Internationalism and “nurture holy” in Samson Agonistes

(p.188) 5 “I was his nursling once”: Internationalism and “nurture holy” in Samson Agonistes
Nation and Nurture in Seventeenth-Century English Literature

Trubowitz Rachel

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that the image of Samson as God's nursling and the allusions to nursing and nurture elsewhere in the drama open a new window into Milton's preoccupations in Samson Agonistes with internationalism and the reformed international subject. Through Samson's agon, Milton dramatizes the disaffiliation of the maternal-centered household and ethnic nation from the transcendent, international community of the godly. Milton's perceptions of nurture, nation, and the international closely intertwine with his fraught understanding of Hebraic precedent, Judaic law, and Hebrew–Christian affinities and disparities.

Keywords:   internationalism, Hebrew–Christian relations, maternal-centered household, bonds of nature and nurture, spiritual incorporation, Mosaic Law, contingency, contradiction, transcendence

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