“I was his nursling once”: Internationalism and “nurture holy” in <i>Samson Agonistes</i>

Trubowitz Rachel

in Nation and Nurture in Seventeenth-Century English Literature

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199604739
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741074 | DOI:
“I was his nursling once”: Internationalism and “nurture holy” in Samson Agonistes

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This chapter argues that the image of Samson as God's nursling and the allusions to nursing and nurture elsewhere in the drama open a new window into Milton's preoccupations in Samson Agonistes with internationalism and the reformed international subject. Through Samson's agon, Milton dramatizes the disaffiliation of the maternal-centered household and ethnic nation from the transcendent, international community of the godly. Milton's perceptions of nurture, nation, and the international closely intertwine with his fraught understanding of Hebraic precedent, Judaic law, and Hebrew–Christian affinities and disparities.

Keywords: internationalism; Hebrew–Christian relations; maternal-centered household; bonds of nature and nurture; spiritual incorporation; Mosaic Law; contingency; contradiction; transcendence

Chapter.  18666 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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