Milton and Toleration

Edited by Sharon Achinstein and Elizabeth Sauer

Published in print July 2007 | ISBN: 9780199295937
Published online September 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780191712210 | DOI:

Series: Oxford English Monographs

Milton and Toleration

Show Summary Details


This book locates John Milton's works in national and international contexts, and applies a variety of approaches from literary to historical, philosophical, and postcolonial. Through this, it aims to offer a wide-ranging exploration of how Milton's visions of tolerance reveal deeper movements in the history of the imagination. Milton is often enlisted in stories about the rise of toleration: his advocacy of open debate in defending press freedoms, his condemnation of persecution, and his criticism of ecclesiastical and political hierarchies have long been read as milestones on the road to toleration. However, there is also an intolerant Milton, whose defence of religious liberty reached only as far as Protestants. This book, consisting of sixteen chapters, analyses tolerance in Milton's poetry and prose, examining the literary means by which tolerance was questioned, observed, and became an object of meditation. Organized in three parts — ‘Revising Whig Accounts’, ‘Philosophical Engagements’, and ‘Poetry and Rhetoric’ — the contributors to this book address central toleration issues including heresy, violence, imperialism, republicanism, Catholicism, Islam, church community, liberalism, libertinism, natural law, legal theory, and equity. A pan-European perspective is presented through analysis of Milton's engagement with key figures and radical groups. All of Milton's major works are given an airing, including prose and poetry. The book suggests that Milton's writings are a significant medium through which to explore the making of modern ideas of tolerance.

Keywords: imagination; press freedom; persecution; religious liberty; Protestants; heresy; violence; church community; equity; natural law

Book.  320 pages. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Table of Contents

Introduction in Milton and Toleration


Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

See all items in Oxford Index »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content. subscribe or login to access all content.