John Milton: Life, Work, and Thought

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $4.04
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 89%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (14) from $4.04   
  • New (3) from $26.31   
  • Used (11) from $4.04   


Milton's thought has often been too simply described. This book re-examines scrupulously John Milton's writings and the life records, in the context of a proper understanding of the recent developments in seventeenth-century historiography. 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-contradictory, self-serving, arrogant, passionate, ruthless, ambitious, and cunning, as well as the literary genius who achieved so much.
Read More Show Less

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.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199289844
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 11/15/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 476
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.80 (d)

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.

Read More Show Less

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
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Barnes & Noble wastes my time with SPAM SPAM SPAM

    I keep getting this crap littering my email boxes telling me to write reviews of books that I bought with a B&N card. I don't have any intention of wasting my time helping B&N promote its products. I pay an annual fee for a B&N card to save money on book purchases, not to have my email address spammed by crap about writing reviews.

    Of course, B&N might decide to remove this review. I guess they might decide that it violates their terms that someone who pays money for a B&N card would ever DARE protest to having his email spammed by B&N crap email.

    I'm rating everything about this book as low as I can, to deliberately mess up B&N's rating system. Waste my time with our SPAM and I'll waste yours.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)