Miton and Early Modern Devotional Culture analyses the representation of public and private prayer in John Milton’s poetry and prose, paying particular attention to the ways seventeenth-century prayer is imagined as embodied in sounds, gestures, postures, and emotional responses. Naya Tsentourou demonstrates Milton’s profound engagement with prayer, and how this is driven by a consistent and ardent effort to experience one’s address to God as inclusive of body and spirit and as loaded with affective potential. The book aims to become the first interdisciplinary study to show how Milton participates in and challenges early modern debates about authentic and insincere worship in public, set and spontaneous prayers in private, and gesture and voice in devotion.
Table of Contents
List of Abbreviations and Standard Editions
Introduction: "Pathetical Prayer"
Chapter 1 Dressing the Devotional Body
"A linnen Sock over it": Material Bodies in Church
‘The ghost of a linen decency’
Shifting Bodies in Milton’s Mask
Chapter 2 "Stale and empty words": Consuming Prayers in Eikonoklastes
Subjects and Audiences in Liturgical Prayer
Prayer in the King’s Closet
"Wholesome Words" and Manna
Feeling and Eating Prayers
Chapter 3 Hymns, Sighs, and the Materiality of Prayer in Paradise Lost
Prayer in Hymns
Prayer in Sighs
Sighs, Groans, and Agency
Chapter 4 "As one who pray’d": The Iconoclastic Prayer of Samson Agonistes
Samson’s Violent Prayer
Naya Tsentourou is currently Lecturer in English at the University of Exeter, Penryn. She has research interests in Milton and religious lyric, as well as Shakespeare and the history of emotions. She has co-edited the collection Forms of Hypocrisy in Early Modern England (forthcoming with Routledge) with Lucia Nigri.