Say First, What Cause?

Annabel Patterson

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

Say First, What Cause?

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  • Literature
  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)


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This article examines John Milton's Paradise Lost. It describes the poem as it appears to us today; delineates its great and obvious subjects; recognizes how Milton's idea of his project had grown since he made youthful plans for an epic based on ancient British history, and, a little later, actually sketched a drama based on the first book of Genesis; considers what the experiences of 1640 to 1660 might have contributed to that growth; and also considers also other input that might equally help to account for the difference between his original sketches and the finished product.

Keywords: John Milton; Paradise Lost; poetry; poems

Article.  7351 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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