The Arms of the Family: The Significance of John Milton's Relatives and Associates

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $19.25
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 57%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (10) from $19.25   
  • New (7) from $29.85   
  • Used (3) from $19.25   


John T. Shawcross's groundbreaking new study of John Milton is an essential work of scholarship for those who seek a greater understanding of Milton, his family, and his social and political world. Shawcross uses extensive new archival research to scrutinize several misunderstood elements of Milton's life, including his first marriage and his relationship with his brother, brother-in-law and nephews. Shawcross examines Milton's numerous royalist connections, complicating the conventional view of Milton as eminent Puritan and raising questions about the role his connections played in his relatively mild punishment after the Restoration.

Unique in its methodology, The Arms of the Family is required reading not only for students of Milton but also for students of biography in general. Entire chapters dedicated to Milton's brother Christopher, his brother-in-law Thomas Agar, and his nephews Edward and John Phillips, illuminate the domestic forces that helped shape Milton's point of view. The final chapters reconsider Milton's political and sociological ideology in the light of these domestic forces and in the religious context of his three major poetic works: Paradise Lost, Paradise Regain'd, and Samson Agonistes. The Arms of the Family is a seminal work by a preeminent Miltonist, marking a major advance in Milton studies and serving as a model for those engaged in family history, social history, and the early modern period.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An important book, by the reigning Miltonist of the world, marking a major advance in Milton studies. It reveals hitherto unexamined relationships and connections and is the most important contribution, since William Riley Parker, to a greatly expanded Milton biography." — Joseph Wittreich, City University of New York

"Brings to light a whole new body of knowledge concerning Milton's family and serves as a corrective to the biographical and literary misconceptions that have been uncritically taken for granted during our own time and earlier.... A crucial statement not only about Milton and his 'extended family' but about the social and political world that he and his family occupied. A truly important and engaging work, this is a book that will be essential reading for students of Milton, as well as students of biography in general." — Michael Lieb, University of Illinois

"Much of this material is inherently very fascinating, and it undermines the familiar accounts of Milton as straightforwardly the radical product of a radical milieu." — Milton Quarterly

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813122915
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
  • Publication date: 1/28/2004
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

John T. Shawcross is professor emeritus of English at the University of Kentucky and the author and editor of many books.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Pt. 1 Expanding the Biography 11
Ch. 1 Christopher Milton: Royalist and Brother 13
Ch. 2 Thomas Agar: Royalist and Brother-in-Law 47
Ch. 3 Edward Phillips: Royalist (?) and Nephew 73
Ch. 4 John Phillips: Nonroyalist and Nephew 95
Pt. 2 John Milton 135
Ch. 5 Royalist Connections, but Parliamentarian 137
Ch. 6 Protestant and Familial Literary Implications 169
Afterword 194
Genogram 201
Notes 204
Works Cited 261
Index 288
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

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