Looking Into Providences: Designs and Trials in Paradise Lost
Published: October 2012© 2012
Imprint: University of Toronto Press
Page Count: 328 Pages
Dimensions: 6.30 x 9.30
328 Pages, 6.30 x 9.30 x 1.08 in
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What is the role of providence in Paradise Lost? In Looking into Providences, Raymond B. Waddington provides the first examination of this engaging subject. He explores the variety of implicit organizational structures or ‘designs’ that govern Paradise Lost, and looks in-depth at the ‘trials,’ or testing situations, which require interpretation, choice, and action from its characters.
Waddington situates the poem within the context of providentialism’s centrality to seventeenth-century thought and life, arguing that Milton’s own conception of providence was deeply influenced by the theology of Jacob Arminius. Using Milton’s Arminian conception of free will, he then looks at the providential trials experienced by angels and humans. Finally, the work explores the ways in which providentialism infiltrates various kinds of discourse, ranging from military to medical, and from political to philosophical.
‘Hands down the most beautiful Milton book in recent years, Looking into Providences also provides the best justification for Milton’s coupling of Genesis and Revelation in hisepic: it’s all about Providence.’ Joseph Wittreich, Renaissance Quarterly vol 66:04:2013
‘Thoughtful and penetrating study.’ Philip Major, Review of English Studies vol 65:269:2014
‘Waddington’s book is brilliantly alive to the complexities of its subject… He is illuminating and mysteriously fresh – qualities we have come to expect from this thought-provoking study.’ David Carroll Simon, Modern Philology vol 112:01:2014
‘Meticulous in its scholarship and stunning in its breadth and critical alertness, this book makes an original and major contribution to Milton studies in the twenty-first century… A real pleasure to read.’Estelle Haan, Modern Language Review vol 110:01:2015