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The limits of creation: Creation divine and poetic in Paradise Lost, with special reference to the Christian cabalist tradition.

Hadar, Mirjam R.; (1990) The limits of creation: Creation divine and poetic in Paradise Lost, with special reference to the Christian cabalist tradition. Doctoral thesis (M.Phil.), University College London. Green open access

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Abstract

The idea of creation is central to Paradise Lost. In the poem, this topic, important in the Judaeo-Christian logocentric tradition, has two principal dimensions, the divine and the poetic. First, this thesis scrutinizes the old notion of poet as creator with reference to texts of Renaissance Christian Cabalism, in particular to those of Robert Fludd. These texts incorporate a variety of extraneous material in an attempt to represent or mirror, through the use of allegory, the plenitudinous nature of the creation. Such writing confronts the difference implicated in the similarities between Creator and poet, divine truth and text. This difference constrains the ideal fullness of these works and their mirroring power. The Christian Cabalist text is thus open-ended and eclectic and reflects the writer's indissoluble tie with the language he both uses and is constituted by. The thesis then examines Paradise Lost in the light of these arguments and suggests how it can be seen to address itself to problems of fulness and difference. The poem confronts these firstly by exploiting the implications of the poet's situation in medias res (et verbum), a situation which precludes closure; secondly, by presenting the creation of the world from a variety of viewpoints, and finally by considering acts of transgression the result of a misplaced desire for fulness. The difference inherent in the act of representation is acknowledged primarily in the poem's hexameral aspect. The eclecticism of the treatment of the opening chapters of Genesis leads to the formulation of three independent and self-contained narratives, where the lack of consonance comments on the poetic task.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: M.Phil.
Title: The limits of creation: Creation divine and poetic in Paradise Lost, with special reference to the Christian cabalist tradition.
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by Proquest
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10108280
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