Focused upon the first three decades of Milton's life, this essay considers both the known and little known and suggests the information gap marking these years might be improved. Based upon the assumption that an understanding of historical contexts must precede an assessment of Milton's early compositions, it accordingly assigns significance to setting (whether Milton composed in his rooms in Cambridge or in homes in London, Hammersmith, or Horton); resources (whether that writing involved access to his own books, those in libraries, or neither); and occasions (a death in the family, an observance of a religious holiday, a commission ensuing from a family connection, a visit to the university by a dignitary).
Keywords: archival research; geographic setting; documentary evidence; biography; extended family; manuscripts
Chapter. 7000 words. Illustrated.
Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)
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