Event—Center for Renaissance Studies

Patrick McGrath, Southern Illinois University Carbondale

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Beyond Sexuality in Early Modern Literature, Patrick McGrath

This paper considers the place of asexuality, or what might less anachronistically be termed sexual indifference, in Milton’s later work, particularly Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained. Taking as its impetus the rich body of scholarship on the divorce tracts and the late epics, and, more recently, the attempts to accommodate the young Milton’s asceticism within the conjugal universe of Paradise Lost, the essay argues that sexual indifference functions as an intensification of, rather than a rebuke to, Milton’s earlier ascetic views.