March 9, 2021

Early Readings of Milton’s Eden and the Erotics in Conjugal Chastity

Event Series: The Christian Literary Imagination

Cross in the dusk

In a conversation with Professor Michael Scott, Professor Noël. K. Sugimura will explore early readings of Milton’s depiction of prelapsarian love in Paradise Lost. In particular, she will reflect on its focus on the experience of conjugal chastity as both a spiritual and physical experience. She will also consider how early Christian readers of Milton help to shed new interpretative light on the power of the Christian imagination animating his account of connubial bliss, as well as the centrality of eros to the epic.

This event is sponsored by the Future of the Humanities Project, the Georgetown Humanities Initiative, the Georgetown Master’s Program in the Engaged and Public HumanitiesCampion Hall (University of Oxford), and the Las Casas Institute at Blackfriars Hall (University of Oxford). It is part of a year-long series on the "Christian Literary Imagination."


Professor Noël. K. Sugimura is an official fellow and tutor in English at St John’s College and associate professor in the Faculty of English at the University of Oxford. Her research and teaching addresses the intersection of philosophy, intellectual history, and literary studies, particularly in early modern and eighteenth-century literature and culture. Her first book, Matter of Glorious Trial: Spiritual and Material Substance in Paradise Lost (2009), was the first book to reassess the common critical consensus surrounding Milton’s monist materialism. She has also published widely on other authors and is currently working on two books on Milton and the eighteenth century alongside an edition of William Empson’s Milton’s God for Oxford University Press.

Professor Michael Scott (moderator) is Senior Dean and Fellow of Blackfriars Hall, college adviser for postgraduate students, and a Member of the Las Casas Institute at the University of Oxford. He also serves as senior adviser to the president at Georgetown University. Scott was on the editorial board which relaunched Critical Survey from Oxford University Press. Scott previously served as the pro vice chancellor at De Montfort University and founding vice chancellor of Wrexham Glyndwr University.