This book re-examines scrupulously the writings and the life records of John Milton, in the context of a proper understanding of the recent developments in seventeenth-century historiography. Milton's thought has often been too simply described. The approach here is to interrogate more sceptically notions like puritanism, republicanism, radicalism, and dissent. A more complex story emerges, of Milton's culturally rich but ideologically conformist early decades, and of his radicalisation during the later years of Laudianism. We track the internal dynamics of English puritanism in the 1640s and the impact that has on his own convictions. In the 1650s Milton's thought and beliefs were reconciled to the role as public servant. In the 1660s a renewed confidence carried him towards the completion of his greatest project, Paradise Lost, and his final years were ones of creative fulfilment and renewed political engagement.
Amid the discontinuities occasioned by shifting political circumstance, by the exigencies of polemical context, and the diversity of genres in which he wrote, Milton emerged as a major political thinker and significant systematic theologian, as well as the most eloquent prose writer and most accomplished poet of the age. A more human Milton appears in these pages, flawed, self-contractory, self-serving, arrogant, passionate, ruthless, ambitious, and cunning, as well as the literary genius who achieved so much.
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(242mm x 162mm x 44mm)
Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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Author Biography - Gordon Campbell
Gordon Campbell is Professor of Renaissance Studies at the University of Leicester. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. He is a former chairman of the English Association and of the Society for Renaissance Studies. He has published widely on Milton and on art and architecture, mostly for OUP. Thomas N. Corns is Professor of English at Bangor University. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a Fellow of the English Association. He has published six books on Milton and other books on seventeenth-century literature. Both authors have been elected as Honored Scholars of the Milton Society of America. Their last collaborative project was a book (with two colleagues) on Milton's De Doctrina Christiana. They have recently been appointed as general editors of the 11-volume Oxford Milton, of which the first volume will be published in 2008.