Justice in the dock : Milton's experimental tragedy (Book, 1995) [WorldCat.org]
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Justice in the dock : Milton's experimental tragedy
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Justice in the dock : Milton's experimental tragedy

Author: Harold Skulsky
Publisher: Newark : University of Delaware Press ; London : Associated University Presses, ©1995.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
In Justice in the Dock, Harold Skulsky argues that the currently dominant moral readings of Samson Agonistes reduce it to the pious antiquarian charade it energetically refuses to be - whether the hero is taken as a war criminal or a saint (Christian or existentialist). Milton is as subversive a traditionalist here as elsewhere; he has picked a theologically scandalous stretch of Bible history to dramatize, and he
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Genre/Form: Criticism, interpretation, etc
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Skulsky, Harold.
Justice in the dock.
Newark : University of Delaware Press ; London : Associated University Presses, ©1995
(OCoLC)604177125
Named Person: John Milton; John Milton; Samson, (Biblical judge); John Milton; John Milton; John Milton; John Milton; John (1608-1674) Milton; John Milton
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Harold Skulsky
ISBN: 0874135559 9780874135558
OCLC Number: 32240376
Description: 133 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Responsibility: Harold Skulsky.

Abstract:

In Justice in the Dock, Harold Skulsky argues that the currently dominant moral readings of Samson Agonistes reduce it to the pious antiquarian charade it energetically refuses to be - whether the hero is taken as a war criminal or a saint (Christian or existentialist). Milton is as subversive a traditionalist here as elsewhere; he has picked a theologically scandalous stretch of Bible history to dramatize, and he invents a dramatic structure that makes over the theater, or theatrical imagination, into the scene of a jury trial. The result is neither a sermon in disguise nor a study in indeterminacy, but the theatrical equivalent of the republican freedom the poet's political career was dedicated to promoting. Attorney Milton declares his mind - but leaves the audience free to make up theirs.

On the way to establishing this, Skulsky brings out in all their nastiness the subversive questions forced by the Book of Judges on a would-be Christian believer of the early modern period, and he studies in detail two remarkable earlier attempts to come to terms, in the same tradition of "sacred" drama, with the same Book and the same questions. Justice in the Dock is a book about the preeminent English poet (after Shakespeare) trying to make sense of a paradigm case of mass killing - virtually of genocide - that is endorsed by the Ground of All Justice and carried out by an Israelite hero who (if St. Paul can be trusted) is also a saint. The book is meant to attract readers interested in literature, moral philosophy, religion, or the historic roots of the modern sensibility, as well as readers specifically involved with Milton and his literary, intellectual, and religious background.

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