Aesthetics of the holy. Functions of Space in Milton and Klopstock

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Scholars have long argued that the rhetorical concept of aemulatio best describes the tie between Milton’s Paradise Lost and Klopstock’s Messias. Against the backdrop of an emerging German national literature, Klopstock’s intention was not to merely imitate but to surpass his English predecessor. This view certainly has some merit, particularly since Klopstock himself alluded to this intention.However, crucial differences in aesthetics are obscured if the Messias is read in this sense. In order to challenge this common notion of the relationship betweenMilton and Klopstock, I analyze concepts of space and divine presence in both epic poems. I show how both Milton and Klopstock presented specific poetic solutions to problems in aesthetics and theology posed by their respective historical ‘situation’ (P. Tillich).