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Grant number like: FB-52930-07

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Richard J. DuRocher
St. Olaf College (Northfield, MN 55057-1574)

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars
Research Programs

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2007 – 5/31/2008

Mapping the Emotions in John Milton's Major Poetry

I am writing a book on John Milton's representation of the emotions in his major poems: PARADISE LOST (1667), PARADISE REGAINED (1671) , and SAMSON AGONISTES (1671). Drawing upon theories by contemporary writers, Milton treats the emotions or the "passions" as essential elements of the human psyche that need to be "tempered" in order for virtuous action to occur. For example, William Fenner, a Cambridge theologian, described the emotions as vital signs of sinners' "volatility," indicating their ability to grow. With this understanding in place, we can resolve interpretive cruxes surrounding Milton's epics and tragedy by regarding them as dramatic scenes of characters' management of the emotions leading to spiritual awareness.