John Milton: A Hero of Our Time

Overview

John Milton-poet, polemicist, public servant, and author of one of the greatest masterpieces in English literature, Paradise Lost-is revered today as a great writer and a proponent of free speech. In his time, however, his ideas far exceeded the orthodoxy of English life; spurred by his conscience and an iron grip on logic, Milton was uncompromising in his beliefs at a time of great religious and political flux.

In John Milton, David Hawkes expertly interweaves details from ...

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Overview

John Milton-poet, polemicist, public servant, and author of one of the greatest masterpieces in English literature, Paradise Lost-is revered today as a great writer and a proponent of free speech. In his time, however, his ideas far exceeded the orthodoxy of English life; spurred by his conscience and an iron grip on logic, Milton was uncompromising in his beliefs at a time of great religious and political flux.

In John Milton, David Hawkes expertly interweaves details from Milton's public and private life, providing new insight into the man and his prophetic stance on politics and the social order. By including a broad range of Milton's iconoclastic views on issues as diverse as politics, economics, and sex, Hawkes suggests that Milton's approach to market capitalism, political violence, and religious terrorism continues to be applicable even in the twenty-first century.

This insightful biography closely examines Milton's participation in the English civil war and his startlingly modern ideas about capitalism, love, and marriage, reminding us that human liberty and autonomy should never be taken for granted.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for John Milton

“Popular biographies commemorating Milton’s four-hundredth birthday have been scarce, but Hawkes makes up for that paucity and then some in a splendid argument that Milton was so prophetic of modern political and religious predicaments that he should be regarded as our contemporary.” —Booklist (starred review)

“Hawkes writes with little academic jargon, and his style is lively and entertaining. Political and religious history enthusiasts will find this excellent and challenging.” —Library Journal

Library Journal
The 400th anniversary of Milton's birth provided Hawkes (English, Arizona State Univ.) the opportunity to reexamine the great poet not only within a 17th-century context but in a 21st-century one, too. During an era of great unrest in England, Milton provoked controversy and debate over his ideas of sex, economics, religion, and political power systems. Thought to be ahead of his time, Milton frequently declared that he was not solely speaking to his contemporaries but to the people of the future. Here, Hawkes examines Milton's iconoclasm and his belief that the worshiping of images of all kinds, both figurative and metaphorical, was destructive. Interweaving historical events of his time, such as the Rump Parliament of 1649, Hawkes illuminates Milton's philosophy via his prose and poetry. Although contemporary readers may disapprove of Milton's beliefs—he was in favor of polygamy and believed God picked "chosen ones" to lead the masses—he never made for dull reading. VERDICT Hawkes writes with little academic jargon, and his style is lively and entertaining. Political and religious history enthusiasts will find this excellent and challenging.—Susan L. Peters, Univ. of Texas, Galveston
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781582437132
  • Publisher: Counterpoint Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/2011
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface 1

Introduction: Prophetic Strain 3

1 The Fruit of Usury 23

2 Tyrant Spells 55

3 Samson Sybariticus 89

4 Revolution and Romance 129

5 War on Two Fronts 171

6 Killing No Murder 209

7 Uxorious Usurers 239

8 Blind Man's Bluff 283

Conclusion: The Limbs of Osiris 323

Notes 337

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