In 1967 the world of Milton studies was divided into two armed camps, one proclaiming that Milton was of the devil's party, the other proclaiming that the poet's sympathies are obviously with God and the angels loyal to him. The achievement of Stanley Fish's Surprised by Sin was to reconcile the two camps by subsuming their claims in a single overarching thesis: Paradise Lost is a poem about how its readers came to be the way they are and therefore the fact of their divided responses makes perfect sense. Thirty years later the issues raised in Surprised by Sin continue to set the agenda and drive debate.
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Stanley Fish is Davidson-Kahn Distinguished University Professor of Humanities and Law at Florida International University. His many books include There’s No Such Thing as Free Speech: And It’s a Good Thing, Too.Review:
'Many think of Surprised by Sin as Stanley Fish's best book: not just provocative, but strategic, in directing attention to Milton's designs on his readers.' - Alastair Fowler, Times Literary Supllement
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