Mascot for #DevilDiss

Mascot for #DevilDiss
Mascot for #DevilDiss

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Folkloric Roots of Milton's Satan

Now that PCA/ACA 2013 is over, and I've had some time to breathe, it's time to turn my eye to the next project. I plan on working over the PCA/ACA fairy tale paper and submit it to a couple of places, but there's time for that.
What I'm setting my sights on next though is this:

This is scary for a few reasons:
  1. They didn't take my Loki/Satan paper the last time it was held in 2011. 
  2. This is now where I'll be working on my PhD and I don't want to look like a fool
  3. This is a big deal
However, I'm risking it. Because of all the reasons above.
Rough intro:

            One of the difficulties faced when analyzing the character of Satan is the choice between the literary character or the folkloric character. Recent scholarship has addressed the idea that Milton’s characterization of Satan in Paradise Lost has become the modern concept of the devil (Knoppers and Semenza). Forsyth has in detail, addressed the origins of the character in both The Satanic Epic and The Old Enemy. However, one issue that I do not believe has received enough attention is how Milton’s characterization of Satan has more basis in folklore than in literature.  One of the problems with this approach is that folklore often falls under the heading of anthropology, while the character of Satan has mainly been analyzed through literature. However, analysis of this issue quickly reveals that in Britain, the character of Satan is deeply rooted in folkloric material. Examining the folkloric roots of Milton's Satan serves to not only give us a clearer understanding of the character, and his importance in the work of Paradise Lost as a whole, but also gestures towards Milton's original intention of a national epic.
Here's the rough research plan:

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