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Inside Paradise LostReading the Designs of Milton's Epic$
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David Quint

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691161914

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691161914.001.0001

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Light, Vision, and the Unity of Book 3

Light, Vision, and the Unity of Book 3

(p.93) 4 Light, Vision, and the Unity of Book 3
Inside Paradise Lost

David Quint

Princeton University Press

This chapter looks at book 3 of Paradise Lost, which sets apart an invisible God and heaven from the visible universe, divine light from sunlight. Book 3 points to a contrast between the internal illumination invoked by the blind poet and an Apollonian solar inspiration that motivates the poetry of paganism. In the episode of the Paradise of Fools, the book further criticizes—with a particular eye toward Catholic practice—the tendency of men and women to read back through analogy from God's and their own visible works to the invisible Creator, and to confuse the two. Yet, in distinguishing God's lower works from God and his heaven, Milton knows that he risks unlinking creation from Creator altogether, as do the book's alchemical philosophers, and as Satan does when he later suggests to Eve that the sun, not God, is the power source that gives life, as well as light, to the universe.

Keywords:   Paradise Lost, invisible God, heaven, divine light, paganism, Paradise of Fools, Catholic practice, invisible Creator, Creator

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