Milton: Poet, Pamphleteer, and Patriot

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Bloomsbury Publishing USA, Sep 1, 2010 - Biography & Autobiography - 480 pages

John Milton (1608-1674) is best known as the author of the masterful epic retelling of fall of man, Paradise Lost. But he was more than just the 17th century voice of Satan. Wise and witty scholar Anna Beer traces his literary roots to a youthful passion for ancient verse, especially Ovid. She also rounds out parts of his life that have been, until now, little studied. Milton was deeply involved in the political and religious controversies of his time, writing a series of pamphlets on free speech, divorce, and religious, political and social rights that forced a complete rethinking of the nature and practice not only of government, but of human freedom itself. He struggled to survive through Cromwell's rise to power, chaotic reign and death, and then the restoration of the monarchy.

Milton's personal life was just as rich and complex as his professional, and here it receives a fresh assessment. For centuries, he has emerged from biographies either as a woman-hating domestic tyrant or as a saintly figure removed from the messy business of personal affections. While Milton was probably a touch tyrant and saint, Beer suggests he also suffered lifelong heartache at the untimely death of his intimate friend Charles Diodati, with whom he was likely in love. Milton's context, from religious persecution to institutional turmoil to sexual politics, is as central to the book as Milton himself. With extensive new research, Milton emerges from Anna Beer's ground-breaking biography for the first time as a fully rounded human being.


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MILTON: Poet, Pamphleteer, and Patriot

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Rich, often laudatory biography of the creator of Paradise Lost.John Milton's life (1608-74) encompassed one of the most turbulent periods in English history, notes Beer (Literature/Oxford Univ.; My ... Read full review

Milton: Poet, Pamphleteer, and Patriot

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

John Milton's books were publicly burned on two occasions-1660 and 1683-the result of the fear and hostility he inspired in many of his 17th-century contemporaries. How would Milton-the man who once ... Read full review


1TheCity 1608
TheChurch 1641
Defeat1660 17Epic 1667
Revelation 1667
19Resurgence 1671
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About the author (2010)

Anna Beer is Lecturer in Literature and a Fellow of Kellogg College at the University of Oxford She is the author of the acclaimed Bess: The Life of Lady Ralegh, Wife to Sir Walter, and of an earlier study of Sir Walter Ralegh's life and works. She lives in Oxford with her family.

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