Milton's Manuring: Eden, Eve, Enclosure, Epic
Join the Franklin Humanities Institute for its new Friday morning series, tgiFHI! tgiFHI gives Duke faculty in the humanities, interpretative social sciences and arts the opportunity to present on their current research to interlocutors in their fields. Breakfast available at 9:00 am.
We associate Paradise with eternal and unbounded leisure. Why then is the Eden of John Milton's Paradise Lost so much work? Looking more closely at the material substance and the extent of Adam and Eve's prelapsarian labor suggests a vision of paradise with both the possibility, and the means, of expansion, change, and improvement. This dynamic vision of life in Eden resituates Milton's epic within a constellation of contemporaneous experiments in rightful occupation without ownership during an era of profound transformation in human relationships to property and to the nonhuman world.
Saskis Cornes is assistant professor of the practice at the Franklin Humanities Institute and the program director of the Duke Campus Farm. Her current research examines the cultural impacts of enclosure in seventeenth-century England and the possibilities for agriculture as a theory and practice of repair.