John Milton: Life, Work, and Thought

John Milton: Life, Work, and Thought

by Gordon Campbell, Thomas N. Corns
     
 

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Written by two of the world's leading Milton scholars, widely praised as "illuminating" (Times Literary Supplement), "seamlessly written (Publishers Weekly), and "a book of permanent value" (Literary Review), and winner of the Milton Society's James Holly Hanford Award, this magnificent biography sheds fresh new light on the writings, the

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Overview

Written by two of the world's leading Milton scholars, widely praised as "illuminating" (Times Literary Supplement), "seamlessly written (Publishers Weekly), and "a book of permanent value" (Literary Review), and winner of the Milton Society's James Holly Hanford Award, this magnificent biography sheds fresh new light on the writings, the thought, and the life of poet John Milton. A more human Milton appears in these pages, a Milton who is flawed, self-contradictory, self-serving, arrogant, passionate, ruthless, ambitious, and cunning. He is also among the most accomplished writers of the period, the most eloquent polemicist of the mid-century, and the author of the finest and most influential narrative poem in English, Paradise Lost, which the book examines in detail. What Milton achieved in the face of crippling adversity, blindness, bereavement, and political eclipse, remains wondrous. Here is a fascinating biography of this towering literary figure—the first new serious study in forty years—one that profoundly challenges the received wisdom about one of England's leading poets and thinkers.

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Editorial Reviews

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

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

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199591039
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
12/01/2010
Pages:
512
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.70(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.

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