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The WorldmakersGlobal Imagining in Early Modern Europe$
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Ayesha Ramachandran

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226288796

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226288826.001.0001

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“This Pendant World”

“This Pendant World”

Creating Miltonic Modernity

(p.182) Chapter Five “This Pendant World”
The Worldmakers

Ayesha Ramachandran

University of Chicago Press

Paradise Lost faces the challenge of creating, organizing, and governing worlds. Yet Milton rejects the epic’s favorite topic, imperial desire, fully embracing the cosmological turn initiated by Camões and Spenser. He treats “the world” from both natural philosophical and theological perspectives, as he interrogates competing accounts of its creation. Offering a revisionist analysis, this chapter shows that Miltonic theodicy intervenes in debates over contemporary theories of the world, particularly competing visions of the world as a divinely created or humanly produced artefact. It investigates Milton’s engagement with the Lucretian challenge to theistic creation, his use of the tradition of the cosmographic meditation, and his engagement with a new global cartographic consciousness to show how the epic comprehends almost all the genres of worldmaking discussed in this book. The poem stages symbolic internalizations of the world and concludes that moral self-making is the only meaningful source for the world’s renewal.

Keywords:   Milton, Paradise Lost, creation, Lucretius, cosmology, theodicy, cosmographic meditation, cartography, self, world

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