Nighttime and Speculative Realism in William Blake’s Milton

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Rawitawan Sophonpanich


William Blake’s Milton, written between 1804 and 1811, has always been considered a challenging work. This research article provides two possible interpretations of the epic. First, it argues for a reading of Blake within the Enlightenment movement, which sheds new light on both the poet and the era. Second, the study suggests that Blake’s cosmos in the poem bears a resemblance to Quentin Meillassoux’ notion of hyper-chaos. This concept has its root in the field of speculative realism, a branch of philosophy that defends the autonomy of the world from human access with imaginative boldness. Focusing on nighttime as a potent object in the Blakean cosmos, the article ends with an analysis of how Blake constructs nighttime in Milton as a hyper-chaotic space filled with infinite potentiality and contingency.

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