In his comprehensive study of the North Atlantic world, K. G. Davies remarks that "no major English literary work of the seventeenth century comes to mind that breathes an Atlantic air or takes the American empire for its theme." The purpose of this essay is to suggest that Paradise Lost constitutes at least a partial exception to Davies's generalization. Milton's epic, I believe, interacts continuously with the deeply ambivalent feelings which the conquest of the New World generated in seventeenth-century English culture. Like its closest classical model, The...
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