Milton in Yosemite: Paradise lost and the national parks idea

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Abstract

"Milton in Yosemite" investigates the reasons why certain English and American visitors to Yosemite so often described the valley in religious terms, particularly in terms of an Eden. Reformed Protestantism developed a peculiarly strong nostalgia for Eden that John Milton gave a powerful form in Paradise Lost. The poem's influence on Reformed culture in England and America reached Yosemite via three important paths: landscape architecture, landscape art, and literature. Paradise Lost had an especially large impact on the thought and works of John Muir. The conventions of the Miltonic Eden established in the nineteenth century continue to inform the dominant ways Americans envision Yosemite and the national parks today - for example, in the continued popularity of the work of Ansel Adams.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-274
Number of pages38
JournalEnvironmental History
Volume13
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2008

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