Nascent Republican Theory in Milton's Regicide Prose

Stephen M. Fallon

in The Oxford Handbook of Literature and the English Revolution

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199560608
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

Nascent Republican Theory in Milton's Regicide Prose

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This article examines John Milton's political prose, which reflects the ideological turbulence and paradoxes of nascent English republicanism. As the ascendant Independent party moved toward and through the cataclysmic events of 1649 without a fully realized political programme, Milton like others was obliged to keep pace with events by cobbling a set of intuitions and nascent principles into a coherent and explicitly anti-monarchic political theory. This process can be traced in Milton's 1649 prose: The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates, Observations upon the Articles of Peace, and Eikonoklastes. While the three works are similar in their arguments, both explicit and implicit, they differ in rhetorical context and, as a result, in style. They follow a trajectory from self-generated essay to animadversion, or point-by-point refutation of an opponent.

Keywords: John Milton; English Revolution; political prose; republicanism; anti-monarchic political theory

Article.  9476 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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