John Milton's many and various works include magnificent poems, polemics, history, theology, and treatises on political, ecclesiastical, educational, and social issues. No writer before Milton defined himself so self-consciously as an author - both in prose and in poetry - as his God-given vocation. In her detailed account of Milton's life and career, Barbara Lewalski provides a close analysis of his prose and poetry, focusing on the development of his ideas and his art. She shows how Milton, even as a young poet, constructed himself as a new kind of author, commanding astonishing resources of learning and artistry to develop a radical politics, reformist poetics, and an inherently revolutionary prophetic voice. This insightful portrayal of Milton's life, thought, and writing, as well as his contribution to public life, is an important, stimulating, and timely contribution to Milton scholarship.
Barbara Lewalski is William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of English Literature and of History and Literature, and Director of Graduate Studies in English at Harvard University. She has been named honored scholar by the Milton Society of America, and has served as President of that organization and of the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women. Her numerous publications include Milton's Brief Epic: The Genre, Meaning and Art of "Paradise Regained" (1966), Protestant Poetics and the Seventeenth Century Religious Lyric (1979, winner of the James Russell Lowell Prize of the Modern Language Association), Paradise Lost and the Rhetoric of Literary Forms (1985), Writing Women in Jacobean England (1993), and The Polemics and Poems of Rachel Speght (editor, 1996).
List of Plates. Preface.Acknowledgments. List of Abbreviations. 1. 'The childhood shews the man" (1608-1625). 2. "To Cambridge ... for seven years" (1625-1632). 3. "Studious Retirement": Hammersmith and Horton (1632-1638). 4. "I became desirous ... of seeing foreign parts, especially Italy" (1638-1639). 5. "All mouths were opened against ... the bishops" (1639-1642). 6. "Domestic or Personal Liberty" (1642-1645). 7. "Service ... Between Private Walls" (1645-1649). 8. "The so-called Council of State ... desired to employ my services" (1649- 1652). 9. "Tireless ... for the sake of Liberty" (1652-1654). 10. "I ... still bear up and steer/ Right onward" (1654-1658). 11 "The last words of our expiring libertie" (1658-1660). 12 "In darknes, and with dangers compast round" (1660-1665). 13. "Higher Argument": Completing and Publishing Paradise Lost (1665-1669). 14. "To try, and teach the erring Soul" (1669-1674). Epilogue: "Something ... Written to Aftertimes." Notes. Bibliography. Index.