Date of Award

Spring 1976

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Stephens, James W.

Second Advisor

McCanles, Michael

Third Advisor

Sullivan, Maureen


The major focus of this dissertation is on the generic competition in John Milton's Paradise Lost. The poem's structure is based upon the dialectical interplay of the epic and pastoral genres. Books I-IV constitute the epic movement of the poem. Therein Satan is presented as epic hero not unlike Ulysses and Aeneas. He marshalls the fallen spirits, settles Hell, sets forth to explore the newly created world of Adam and Eve, and seeks to undermine the creation of God. While Satan is presented as the exemplar of epic values, those values are called into question by those very structural elements which characterize the epic genre. Books V-VIII develop the pastoral movement of Paradise Lost. The vast panoramas, elevated diction, heroic actions of the epic section give way to the chastened style, the narrow confines of the Garden of Eden, and the education of Adam and Eve. It is one of Milton's major innovations to recognize a tension which was always present in the epic form but which was never explicitly developed before...



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