Milton scholar provides new view of poet’s life in new book

Author: Shannon Chapla


Stephen M. Fallon, professor of liberal studies and English at the University of Notre Dame, provides a new view of 17 th century English poet John Miltons life and his importance for contemporary literary theory in a new book published by Cornell University Press.

InMiltons Peculiar Grace: Self-Representation and Authority,Fallon argues that Milton, best known for his epic poemParadise Lost,is a theological writer, but not a religious writer.

While a sense of oneself as sinful and needing grace defines religious experience for his contemporaries,Miltonwrites about himself, impossibly, as if unfallen,Fallon explained.The doctrine of fall, grace and regeneration, so well illustrated in ‘ Paradise Lost,has no discernible effect onMilton’s overt self-representations.His refusal to tell the required story about himself has far-reaching effects on his works.The return of the repressed narrative on the one hand unsettles his political arguments and ultimately helps account for much of the creative power of his major poems.

Based on close readings ofMiltonsself-constructionsin prose and poetry throughout his career, Fallons book provides a new view ofMiltons life and his importance for contemporary literary theory, in particular for continued questions about authorial intention.

A scholar ofMiltonand early modern literature and intellectual history, Fallon also is the author ofMilton Among the Philosophers: Poetry and Materialism in Seventeenth-Century England,which was just released in paperback from Cornell University Press.He also co-editedMiltons complete poetry and selected prose.Fallon is on the editorial board of the Yale Milton Encyclopedia .He twice has been a National Endowment for the Humanities fellow as well as a fellow of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. He co-founded and continues to teach a course on literary and philosophical classics at theSouth BendCenterfor the Homeless.

* Contact: * _Stephen M. Fallon, 574-631-6598,

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