‘Adventurous song’ or ‘presumptuous folly’: The Problem of ‘utterance’ in John Milton's Paradise Lost and Lucy Hutchinson's Order and Disorder

Wilcher, Robert
October 2006
Seventeenth Century;Autumn2006, Vol. 21 Issue 2, p304
Academic Journal
Paradise Lost (1667) and Order and Disorder (1679) both deal with the Creation and the Fall. But Hutchinson's strict puritan aesthetic leads to a management of the narrative material very different from Milton's. This paper compares the distinctive ways in which the two poets expand upon the bare outline of the story in Genesis: the one calling for ‘celestial light’ to ‘shine inward’ and reveal ‘things invisible to mortal sight’; and the other avoiding the ‘presumptuous folly’ of wanting to know more than is revealed in God's ‘own word’ or daring to invent what has been ‘concealed from mortals' apprehensions’.


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