Timothy Harrison, Finding Subjectivity in Paradise Lost | Newberry

Timothy Harrison, Finding Subjectivity in Paradise Lost

Timothy Harrison, University of Chicago

Timothy Harrison, University of Chicago

Saturday, May 14, 2016

12 to 2:30 pm

Towner Fellows Lounge

Timothy Harrison, University of Chicago
Registration for this event has closed.
Center for Renaissance Studies Programs
Milton Seminar

What, in Milton’s view, is the nature of self-awareness? Professor Harrison tries to answer this question by showing how Milton’s depiction of human subjectivity in Paradise Lost emerges from his anthropological convictions about human nature. When Milton wrote Adam and Eve’s first-person accounts of awakening in Eden, he poetically concretized a widespread seventeenth-century philosophical fantasy that sought to combine the evidence of experience with the explanatory power of an appeal to origins. Adam and Eve’s accounts present imagined first-person access to the origins of human experience. By developing this impossible perspective of neonatal maturity—a completely new but nevertheless fully developed human consciousness—Milton answers a series of questions raised in ancient, medieval, and early modern debates about self-awareness. By what means does one come to be aware of oneself? What is the self, such that one can obtain knowledge of it? What form does such self-knowledge take? Milton responds to questions like these (posed by Aristotle, Cicero, Augustine, Avicenna, and others) by appealing to the phenomenological force of a poetic language that is “simple, sensuous, and passionate.”

The format is not a lecture, but discussion of a precirculated paper. The paper is sent electronically to those who register to attend.

Coffee and refreshments will be served before the seminar.

Learn more about the speaker: Timothy Harrison, University of Chicago

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Organized by Stephen Fallon, University of Notre Dame; Christopher Kendrick, Loyola University Chicago; Paula McQuade, DePaul University; and Regina Schwartz, Northwestern University.

Faculty and graduate students of Center for Renaissance Studies consortium institutions may be eligible to apply for travel funds to attend CRS programs or to do research at the Newberry. Each member university sets its own policies and deadlines; contact your Representative Council member in advance for details.

Cost and Registration Information 

This scholarly program is free and open to all, but space is limited and registration in advance is required. The precirculated paper for discussion will be sent electronically to those who register.

Registration for this event closed at 10 am Friday, May 13.