Article

Whose Liberty? The Rhetoric of Milton's Divorce Tracts

Diane Purkiss

in The Oxford Handbook of Milton

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199697885
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199697885.013.0010

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

 Whose Liberty? The Rhetoric of Milton's Divorce Tracts

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A pamphlet called the Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce appeared on the London bookstalls, anonymous and unlicensed, advocating an ideal of marriage in which the wife existed to be the husband's companion. John Milton tried to repair the damage by a series of further works: the Judgment of Martin Bucer, Tetrachordon, and Colasterion. Milton's divorce tracts tend to receive an eager critical welcome as crucial in the formation of his progressive views about individual liberty. Milton's vision of transmuting the classical and humanist same-sex model of friendship into marriage was dismissed. His expectations of women were seen as simply too high for nature. It was though that Milton's divorce laws would be the ruin of husbands and children, and with them the social order.

Keywords: Discipline of Divorce; John Milton; Martin Bucer; Tetrachordon; Colasterion; divorce tracts; divorce laws

Article.  7688 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800) ; Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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