|Publisher:||Oxford University Press, USA|
increasingly it is dismissed or is unrecognised as a way of thinking or an arena for thought. It is sceptically challenged from within, for example, by the sometimes rival claims of cultural history, contextualized explanation, or media studies. It is shaken from without by even greater pressures:
by economic exigency and the severe social attitudes that can follow from it; by technological change that may leave the traditional forms of serious human communication looking merely antiquated. For just these reasons this is the right time for renewal, to start reinvigorated work into the meaning
and value of literary reading. Why would anyone read John Milton today? To many, poetry in general is an irrelevant and even irresponsible luxury that we cannot afford in a time of environmental and social crisis. The work of a seventeenth-century 'Puritan' might seem especially obscure and out of touch with our needs. But this
book argues that Milton offers us one of the most powerful arguments for the importance of poetry today, both representing in his poetry and demonstrating through his own life, the transformative and sustaining force of the human imagination even in times of greatest upheaval. Writing out of his own
experience of loss and disappointment, he insists that poetry is a form of knowledge, a way of seeing and understanding the world around us, others, and indeed ourselves. He uses the resources of poetry--its language, imagery, and forms--to challenge and shake us up, making us think in unfamiliar
ways and expanding our imagination and our sense of the possibilities in our lives. Milton insists that poetry gives us knowledge of truths we otherwise would never apprehend; it enriches the experience of both writers and readers and makes us creative and fully realized human beings.