Barbarous Dissonance and Images of Voice in Milton's Epics

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Elizabeth Sauer brings a new perspective to Milton scholarship through her examination of the relative status and authority of the multiple narrative voices in Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained. She argues that Milton's epics accommodate a variety of interpretive voices, episodes, and dramatic and discursive exchanges that resist the monological containment of the poems' dominant narratives.
Sauer investigates the texts' discursive practices and the politics of their orchestration of voice, exploring the ways in which Milton's multivocal poems interrogated dominant structures of authority in the seventeenth century and constructed in their place a community of voices characterized by dissonances. She incorporates different critical responses to Milton's texts into her argument as a way of contextualizing her own historically engaged approach.
By injecting concepts such as multiple narrators and genres, open forms, strategic deferrals, and the exchanges between the poetic voices and discourses of the early modern period, Sauer tells us something about how the poems spoke to their own time as well as how they may be recuperated to speak to ours.

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About the author (1996)

Elizabeth Sauer is professor of English, Brock University.

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