Our Universe is ever expanding and seemingly infinite. While this knowledge is taken for granted in the modern era, this was not the case for the English poet John Milton. Having lived during the time of Galileo and being as wide read as he was, the study of Astronomy had a significant impact on many of Milton’s works. Milton’s most notable work, Paradise Lost, makes many allusions to astronomical theories of the 17th century. Understanding Milton’s use of Astronomy within Paradise Lost will allow for a better understanding of Milton’s ideas on the topic, and explain how these ideas may manifest in his works. The influence that Astronomy had on John Milton’s expression of the cosmos in Paradise Lost is critical to a firmer understanding of how Milton fits into the evolving landscape of science in the 17th century. To begin this discussion, I will discuss the history and controversies of Astronomy during Milton’s time. Then, I will move into how Milton relates to this topic, including a brief discussion about his meeting with Galileo. Next, I will discuss what theories Milton believed. For this, I will be discussing a textbook on Astronomy that Milton used to teach the topic to his own students. Then, I plan to discuss how Milton’s understanding and beliefs regarding Astronomy influence his descriptions of the cosmos in his epic poem, Paradise Lost. Lastly, I will end by tying the discussion back to Milton’s place within the debates surrounding Science during his time.
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13 March 2020
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19 July 2022
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Donna Gessell; Michael Rifenburg