Authors: Milton

pope

"John Milton," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Biographical sketch at U Adelaide (and on-line works)

 

Handouts:

1. Il Penseroso and L'Allegro guides[jb]
2. Lycidas summary [jb]
3. Samson Agonistes study guide [jb]
4. Paradise Lost Reading Guide [sh]

John Milton (1608-1674) is one of the major canonical authors of English literature. He wrote the great English epic, Paradise Lost (1667). It was followed by Paradise Regained (1671). As a student at Cambridge University, Milton had planned on making his career as a poet, and on writing the great English epic. He was also a teacher. Milton wrote reams of prose. His poetic output was prodigious, and every poem worthwhile, whether it be in Latin or English.

Milton was involved in the English Civil War on the Republican side against the King. He wrote Tenure of Kings and Magistrates (1649) in which he argued that it was lawful for a people to execute a tyrant. He worked for the Republican government and wrote a number of polemics and books. Milton went blind in 1652. When the Crown was restored in May of 1660, Milton was arrested a month later and faced the death penalty. He was granted amnesty in August.

His shorter poems are published in Poems of Mr John Milton, both English and Latin (1645 or 1646). Paradise Lost was published in 1667, one year after the Great Fire of London. By 1688, it was considered "England's national epic" (DNB).