The Oxford Handbook of Milton

Edited by Nicholas McDowell and Nigel Smith

Volume 1, issue Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199697885
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

The Oxford Handbook of Milton

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The Oxford Handbook of Milton is a guide to John Milton studies in the early twenty-first century, bringing together thirty-five scholars in one volume. The rise of critical interest in Milton's political and religious ideas is the most striking aspect of Milton studies in recent times, a consequence in great part of the increasingly fluid relations between literary and historical study. The book both embodies the interest in Milton's political and religious contexts in the last generation and seeks to inaugurate a new phase in Milton studies through closer integration of the poetry and prose. There are eight essays on various aspects of Paradise Lost, ranging from its classical background and poetic form to its heretical theology and representation of God. There are sections devoted both to the shorter poems, including ‘Lycidas’ and Comus, and the final poems, Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes. There are also three sections on Milton's prose: the early controversial works on church government, divorce, and toleration, including Areopagitica; the regicide and republican prose of 1649–60, the period during which Milton served as the chief propagandist for the English Commonwealth and Cromwell's Protectorate; and the various writings on education, history, and theology. The opening essays explore what is known about Milton's biography and what it might tell us; the final essays offer interpretations of aspects of Milton's influence on later writers, including the Romantic poets.

Keywords: John Milton; political ideas; Paradise Lost; Lycidas; Comus; Paradise Regained; Samson Agonistes; Areopagitica; English Commonwealth; Cromwell's Protectorate

Book.  752 pages. 

Subjects: Literature

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