[Milton-L] Paradise Lost, Hell, Ecology, and Industry

Sara van den Berg vandens at slu.edu
Mon Apr 23 20:36:17 EDT 2007

Sara van den Berg wrote:
> Justin Barnes Kolb wrote:
>> Hello,
>> This project might be a little unformed but I thought I'd put some 
>> feelers out. I'm kicking around a vague idea for a Murfreesboro 
>> conference paper on PL. It would be about the role of mining, 
>> industry, smithing, gunnery, and various other technological 
>> manipulations of metal and earth in Hell and the actions of the 
>> devils. At the moment I'm thinking of a sort of ecocritical reading, 
>> with the infernal and strenuous novelty and ingenuity of the devils 
>> contrasted to the gentle gardening of Adam and Eve in Eden. I though 
>> it might be interesting to examine the relationship between Milton's 
>> ideas about nature, improvement, and work and the ideas of the 
>> Diggers. I'm also considering a tenuous, if possibiy interesting 
>> analogy, between the "darkness visible" of Hell and a world lit by 
>> the burning of fossil fuels.
>> Can anyone recommend some good critical texts on Milton and ecology, 
>> ideas of nature and work from the period, or any work on technology 
>> and culture in Milton?
>> Thanks,
>> Justin Kolb
>> UW-Madison
This afternoon, after sending my earlier message, I happened to read 
Daniel Tiffany's essay, "Lyric Substance: On Riddles, Materialism, and 
Poetic Obscurity,"
 which devotes one section to a discussion of Milton's "darkness 
visible."  The essay is included in /Things/, ed. Bill Brown (U of 
Chicago Press, 2004), which reprints a special issue of /Critical 

Sara van den Berg

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