This article explores the much-overlooked «points of overlap» between John Milton’s Paradise Lost (1674) and Tommaso Campailla’s L’Adamo, Ovvero il Mondo Creato (1728). The first part of the essay looks into a number of possible explanations for the similarities between the two works, hypothesizing the circulation of parts of the English epic poem, in its initial translations, to the southernmost areas of Enlightenment Europe. Cultural mobility, the fluidity of national borders, and the transnational nature of the literary community of the long 18th century could all have allowed Milton’s poem to arrive at a Sicilian intellectual who never left the island, only once left his hometown of Modica, and rarely even crossed his own doorstep. With five comparative readings of important passages from these two works, this article attempts to show the many stunning similarities, and to open up further discussion on the popularity of philosophical poetry in Europe, showing how literature and the sciences were enmeshed and intertwined even as they were becoming (at least rhetorically) separate and even dichotomized.
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- Philosophical poetry