Faithful Likenesses: Lists of Similes in Milton, Shelley, and Rossetti

Gray, Erik I.

Lists and similes are both archetypal epic devices; Milton not only was the epic poet closest to Shelley and Rossetti, but he also combined the two devices in a way his classical precursors did not. In this essay, I begin by considering lists of similes in general, arguing that their tendency is to test or strain the reader’s faith. I then examine the very different effects of this tendency in Milton and Shelley before returning to Rossetti, for whom the trope represents in some ways a matter of life and death.


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Texas Studies in Literature and Language

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Academic Units
English and Comparative Literature
University of Texas Press
Published Here
May 7, 2015