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From Milton’s Paradise Lost to Blake’s Milton

Authors
  • Adnot, Camille
Publication Date
Dec 27, 2023
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780192844743.003.0015
OAI: oai:HAL:hal-04491922v1
Source
HAL-Descartes
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown
External links

Abstract

This chapter traces Milton’s ambivalent light and dark images in Paradise Lost in William Blake’s illuminated book Milton: A Poem in Two Books and John Martin’s mezzotint illustrations to Paradise Lost. It starts with Blake’s visual transposition of Milton’s ‘dark materials’, focusing on clouded light as a symbol of blindness and sublime vision, before addressing the paradox of dark light. It then examines different nightscapes, which are generative of textual and visual ambiguities. Blake’s variations on light are then compared to Martin’s chiaroscuro effects. The artists’ respective engraving techniques are shown to offer different treatments of light and shadow. Through the medium change from the verbal to the visual, their engravings offer a milieu in which potent Miltonic images are able to resonate and are substantialized. The chapter concludes by recalling how prominent Paradise Lost was for Romantic artists, who found powerful inspiration in Milton’s poem.

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