Old versus New: Cartographic Discourse and Mapping the Protestant Identity in Paradise Lost
Nagel, Bethany Len
MetadataShow full item record
This thesis examines the development of the Protestant identity through cartographic discourses found in John Milton's Paradise Lost. The rise in the new cartography based on Ptolemy's Geography during the early modern period necessitated a new geographic consciousness for the individual. These new geometric maps stood in stark contrast to the older and highly symbolic cosmographies, the medieval mappaemundi. Milton is clearly marking the tension between the two ways of conceptualizing the world and the position of the individual within each one. Because every map assumes a viewer, these discourses are highly concerned with the individual and their relationship to place. And place, for Milton, is not only geographic but also inherently temporal and symbolic as well. He creates cartographic sketches of hell, the garden, and earth in order to illustrate the dangers to the individual of mappings that ignore place. Using the figures of Satan, Adam, and the narrator, Milton illustrates that the self and place are involved in a reciprocal relationship in which they both create and are created by each other. Through his discussion of the relationship between place, the body, and the self, Milton literally maps for the reader a cosmography which defines the Protestant self within the postlapsarian world and maps out the journey toward the promised eternal paradise.