Milton and the Natural World: Science and Poetry in Paradise Lost

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Milton and the Natural World overturns prevailing critical assumptions by offering a fresh view of Paradise Lost, in which the representation of Eden's plants and animals is shown to be fully cognizant of the century's new, scientific natural history. The fabulous lore of the old science is wittily debunked, and the poem embraces new imaginative and symbolic possibilities for depicting the natural world, suggested by the speculations of Milton's scientific contemporaries including Robert Boyle, Thomas Browne and John Evelyn. Karen Edwards argues that Milton has represented the natural world in Paradise Lost, with its flowers and trees, insects and beasts, as a text alive with meaning and worthy of close reading.