Milton and the Culture of Violence

Front Cover
Cornell University Press, 1994 - 273 pages
0 Reviews
Reviews aren't verified, but Google checks for and removes fake content when it's identified
In this powerful work of criticism, Michael Lieb explores the culture of violence - shaped by myth as well as historical circumstance - that colors Milton's outlook and permeates his art. In Lieb's view, a central image in Milton's writings is the specter of sparagmos, or bodily mutilation and dismemberment. Tracing this image across Milton's entire career, Lieb offers authoritative new readings of Areopagitica, A Mask, Lycidas, Samson Agonistes, and Paradise Lost, as well as of lesser-known works.
Milton, says Lieb, perceived himself as besieged by brutal forces constantly threatening his body and mind with dissolution. Lieb shows how Milton strove, in his poetry and polemical prose writings, to overcome these forces. Accompanying the preoccupation with wholeness that underlay Milton's sense of self, Lieb asserts, was a profound concern with sexuality.
At the root of the culture of violence that Milton experienced, ambivalence over the bisexuality of his identity proved crucial to his conduct as an individual and as a writer. Lieb regards Milton's complex response to his gendered self as a key to interpreting the themes of bodily mutilation and dismemberment which inform his work.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


The Slaughter of the Saints
The Fate of the Poet
The Dismemberment of Orpheus

6 other sections not shown

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1994)

Michael Lieb is Research Professor of Humanities and Professor of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Bibliographic information