Next Article in Journal
Manilaner’s Holocaust Meets Manileños’ Colonisation: Cross-Traumatic Affiliations and Postcolonial Considerations in Trauma Studies
Next Article in Special Issue
The Indispensability of the Humanities for the 21st Century
Previous Article in Journal
Western Scientific Approaches to Near-Death Experiences
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Humanities 2015, 4(4), 797-817; doi:10.3390/h4040797

“A Lock of Thy Bright Hair”: The Enlightenment’s Milton and Our Auratic Material

Department of English, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697, USA
Academic Editor: Paul Keen
Received: 16 September 2015 / Accepted: 4 November 2015 / Published: 11 November 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Humanities in a Utilitarian Age)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [240 KB, uploaded 11 November 2015]

Abstract

This article looks at how English critics, biographers, and poets once sported with the image, idea, and biomaterial of John Milton’s hair. Their play is contextualized within the materialist and instrumental values that were instituted in eighteenth-century literary criticism and biography and that remain central to the humanities today. It was the philologists, antiquarians, bibliophiles, biographers, and anecdotalists of the long eighteenth century who linked the value of cultural objects to their work in the cultural world. The objects sheltered from that world—aesthetic ones in the modern sense—were meanwhile endowed with qualities purloined from an otherwise debunked supernatural register. These contradictory values, all object-centered, cultivated skepticism in observers and thus scripted still-privileged affective postures of mourning and melancholia with respect to objects of inquiry. Dynamic entanglement with Milton’s hair in eighteenth-century critical writing tells a different story. It teaches us to approach that writing as writing and to value “Milton’s hair” as auratic in the communicative sense later displaced by diffident, object-centered models of the aura. Can we define and engage our “material” along the lines of eighteenth-century “entanglement” with Milton’s hair? View Full-Text
Keywords: Milton; instrumentalism; materialism; aura; modern humanities; literary biography; history of literary criticism; literary history; entanglement Milton; instrumentalism; materialism; aura; modern humanities; literary biography; history of literary criticism; literary history; entanglement
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

Scifeed alert for new publications

Never miss any articles matching your research from any publisher
  • Get alerts for new papers matching your research
  • Find out the new papers from selected authors
  • Updated daily for 49'000+ journals and 6000+ publishers
  • Define your Scifeed now

SciFeed Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Lewis, J. “A Lock of Thy Bright Hair”: The Enlightenment’s Milton and Our Auratic Material. Humanities 2015, 4, 797-817.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Humanities EISSN 2076-0787 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top