"Milton's Astronomy and the Seasons of Paradise": Connotations 24.1
Just a couple of days ago, I was contacted by a journal to which I'd submitted an article, as quoted below:
Connotations 24.1, which also contains your article on "Milton's Astronomy and the Seasons of Paradise," will be shipped to you shortly. The issue is already available online on our website. You can follow this link to view and download your article.The message added:
Please feel free to provide a link to your article on your own website.I've done so above. Also, here's the Abstract (at the same link):
In his annotated edition of Paradise Lost (1998), Alastair Fowler makes two strong claims concerning the astronomy of Milton's prelapsarian universe: 1) the plane of the celestial equator and the plane of the ecliptic coincide, and 2) the sun would remain forever in the zodiacal sign of Aries. This paper investigates these two claims and shows that while the first claim is plausible, but not entirely secure, the second claim is demonstrably incorrect. Consequently, the changing seasons did characterize the prelapsarian world, albeit in an astronomical sense only, as the sun made its annual movement (or apparent movement) along the celestial equator. References and allusions to the four earthly seasons also occur in the prelapsarian world, but these seasons do not affect temperatures on earth. Much of what Milton writes concerning the seasons, both astronomical and earthly, is ambiguous, probably intentionally so, for the great debates over geocentrism and heliocentrism still raged, a matter made even more complex when one must also distinguish pre- and postlapsarian conditions. This article attempts to clarify what some of these possibilities are and thereby contribute in a minor way to this contested corner of research on Milton's Paradise Lost.I hope that this summary piques readers' interest. As I told the scholars on the Milton List:
If anyone's interested in my attempt to make sense of the seasons in Paradise Lost, my article "Milton's Astronomy and the Seasons of Paradise: Queries Motivated by Alastair Fowler's Views" can be read online at Connotations.I added:
I doubt that I'll have the last word on this, for the issues are complex and even rather abstract. Digging into Milton's view on this topic was a humbling experience.The material was so recondite that I'd need to re-read my own article to be able to defend it against the criticisms certain to come!