‘Englands Case’: Contexts of the 1671 Poems

Laura Lunger Knoppers

in The Oxford Handbook of Milton

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199697885
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

‘Englands Case’: Contexts of the 1671 Poems

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John Milton's final two poems, Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes, were licensed for publication in 1670. Entered into the Stationers Register on September, the jointly published poems (though dated 1671) had most likely appeared by late autumn 1670. The subject of the two poems – the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness and the final days of the Hebraic hero Samson – might seem innocuous enough. Anglo-French alliance in the secret Treaty of Dover is described. The Conventicle Act was part of the ‘Clarendon Code’ put into effect by the Cavalier Parliament that sought both to ensure uniformity within the Church of England and to suppress religious observance outside of it. Investigation of the political, religious, social, literary, and economic contexts of Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes has proved, and no doubt will continue to prove, fruitful for understanding Milton's rich and complex late poems.

Keywords: John Milton; Paradise Regained; Samson Agonistes; Anglo-French alliance; Treaty of Dover; Conventicle Act

Article.  8160 words. 

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

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