John Milton: Life, Work, and Thought [NOOK Book]

Overview

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 hisradicalisation during the later years of ...
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John Milton: Life, Work, and Thought

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Overview

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 hisradicalisation 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 towardsthe 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 Miltonappears 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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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

There is renewed interest in Milton, particularly his political life, this year, the 400th anniversary of his birth. This substantial biography, seamlessly written by the editors of the Oxford Milton, draws chiefly on documentary evidence and an easy familiarity with the 17th-century English scene. As a prodigy scholar, pamphleteer, government translator on the international stage and the blind (probably from glaucoma) bard of the Bible, Milton found himself astride a world of hardening views, as it spiraled in political and spiritual transition. He wrote on divorce, freedom of expression and the tenure of kings; his De Doctrina Christiana, not unearthed until the 1820s, is an essential work of systematic theology. The authors set Milton's imaginative life against this backdrop, stretching from Shakespeare, to whom Milton's father may have been loosely connected, to Dryden's ingenious staging of Paradise Lost in couplets. With nearly 100 pages of notes and bibliography, this is a no-nonsense contribution to our understanding of a genius who, in many ways, is hardly remote from our times. 25 b&w illus., maps. (Jan.)

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Library Journal

The 400th anniversary of the birth of the great English poet John Milton, author of Paradise Lost, has brought a resurgence of popular interest, especially in his radical social and religious views. Leading Miltonists Campbell (Renaissance studies, Univ. of Leicester, U.K.) and Corns (English, Bangor Univ.; The Cambridge Companion to English Poetry) bring two lifetimes of scholarship to this new biography of the poet. Their work is informed by a careful reexamination of the vast archival sources coupled with a thorough knowledge of the changing historiographic understanding of 17th-century historical, social, political, and religious currents. Neither hagiography nor sensationalism, the book places Milton's life and work into the shifting contexts of his times, tracing the stages of his radicalization. Campbell and Corns's biography is more historical than literary in focus. An essential contribution for Miltonists and those interested in the period; it is also accessible to general readers.
—T.L. Cooksey

From the Publisher
"This substantial biography, seamlessly written by the editors of the Oxford Milton, draws chiefly on documentary evidence and an easy familiarity with the 17th-century English scene. With nearly 100 pages of notes and bibliography, this is a no-nonsense contribution to our understanding of a genius who, in many ways, is hardly remote from our times."—Publishers Weekly

"A magnificent achievement: anyone interested in the seventeenth century or its literature will enjoy it, eagerly read it through, and return to it again and again." —Milton Quarterly

The Barnes & Noble Review
John Milton is one of the enigmas of English letters; his imprint is deep, and yet its outlines are indistinct. Philip Pullman has done much to renew popular interest in Milton, even as he contests the poet's account of Good and Evil. Like Lyra's Oxford, the parallel universe that is the chief setting of Pullman's His Dark Materials series, Milton's world was topsy-turvy by present-day standards. In his strife-torn England, it was humanists who stood in the camp of monarchy, tradition, and authoritarianism, while religious conservatives were champions of science, representative government, and freedom of speech. John Milton: Life, Work, and Thought finds its force not only as a scholarly study of Milton's life and works but as a wide-ranging introduction to an age that, for all its strangeness, set the stage for modernity. Authors Gordon Campbell and Thomas N. Corns assemble the materials of Milton in all their knotty particulars, tracing the tender complexities of Milton's personal life, comprehending the rigors and rituals of the academic and clerical spheres in which he moved, and cataloging the difficulties (not to mention the mortal dangers) of living as a public intellectual in the time of Cromwell and King Charles. Milton navigated these turbid streams with a combination of flexibility and stubborness, and Campbell and Corns are scrupulousy attentive to the twists and turns of a career that combined profound theology and political engagement with poetic invention at its highest pitch. The lengthy job of work they set for their readers is repaid in rich fare for the historical imagination. "For books are not absolutely dead things," as Milton wrote, "but do contain a potency of life in them to be as active as that soul was whose progeny they are." --Mattew Battles
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780191622984
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford
  • Publication date: 10/23/2008
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 1,137,834
  • File size: 9 MB

Meet the Author

Gordon Campbell is Professor of Renaissance Studies at 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.

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Table of Contents


List of Illustrations A Note on Dates Maps Introduction I 1608-1632
1 Childhood
2 St Paul's School
3 Cambridge: The Undergraduate Years
4 Cambridge: The Postgraduate Years II 1632-1639
5 Hammersmith
6 Horton
7 Italy III 1639-1649
8 The Crisis of Government
9 The First Civil War
10 The Road to Regicide IV 1649-1660
11 The Purged Parliament
12 The Protectorate
13 From the Death of Oliver Cromwell to the Restoration V 1660-1674
14 Milton in 1660
15 Surviving the Restoration
16 Plague, Fire, and Paradise Lost
17 The Sunlit Uplands VI 1674 and after
18 Posthumous Life and Nachlass Abbreviations Used in Notes and Bibliography Notes Bibliography Index
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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2009

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