Despite the persistence and popularity of addressing the theme of eating in Paradise Lost, the tradition of Adam and Eve's sin as one of gluttony--and the evidence for Milton's adaptation of this tradition--has been either unnoticed or suppressed. Emily Stelzer provides the first book-length work on the philosophical significance of gluttony in this poem, arguing that a complex understanding of gluttony and of ideal, grateful, and gracious eating informs the content of Milton's writing. Working with contextual material in the fields of physiology, philosophy, theology, and literature and building on recent scholarship on Milton's experience of and knowledge about matter and the body, Stelzer draws connections between Milton's work and both underexamined textual influences (including, for example, Gower's Confessio Amantis) and well-recognized ones (such as Augustine's City of God and Galen's On the Natural Faculties).
Emily E. Stelzer is Assistant Professor of Literature and Program Director for English and Great Texts at Houston Baptist University.
Contents Acknowledgments Abbreviations A Note on the Text Introduction: "Unsavory Food Perhaps" 1. Patristic, Medieval, and Early Modern Views of Gluttony 2. An Anatomy of Gluttony in Paradise Lost 3. Scatology and Devilish Glut in Paradise Lost 4. Perfect Consumption, the Food of the Gods, and the Great Chain of Eating 5. The Food of Love, the Paradise Within, Augustinian Triads, and the Body Resurrected 6. The Temperate Poet and "This Flying Steed Unrein'd" Notes Bibliography Index