The experimental and diverse writings of John Milton's early career offer tantalizing evidence of a precocious and steadily ripening author. Traditionally scholars have looked to Poems 1645 for evidence of his development as a poet and its bearing upon his career as a prose writer for over two decades, but such an approach has sometimes obscured and more often ignored the unique accomplishment of Milton's early career by characterizing his juvenilia as
self-conscious writing designed to chronicle artistic progression.
Young Milton seeks to fill a scholarly void regarding Milton's early Latin and English writing (there has been no volume exclusively focused on his writing of the 1620s, 1630s, and the first years of the 1640s). For the most part the essays in this collection reject the idea of a linear development in favor of achievement of various kinds, unequal in merit, and not predicated upon maturation over time. Such maturity indeed may occur, but the early writing of Milton results from a
wide variety of occasions-religious holidays; family celebrations; grammar school exercises and university requirements; the deaths of family members, ministers, university officials, and personal friends; aristocratic celebrations and commissions. This occasionality challenges the argument for the young
author's uniform progress. The writings explored include Lycidas, one of the most celebrated elegies ever written in English, and The Passion, an unfinished poem declared by its author to involve a subject beyond his grasp.
Since his appointment as an assistant editor to the Milton Quarterly in the late 1970s, Edward Jones has been exposed to what Christopher Hill has called the `Milton Industry'. Jones has taken on the challenge of staying current while publishing in an area of Milton studies that has been largely abandoned (archival records produced by the church, state, and parish). As associate and senior editor, and since 2005, when he succeeded the founding editor of MQ, he has continued to play an integral role in publishing young and veteran scholars. His on-going archival work led to his assignment to prepare a new edition of Milton's letters of state for the Clarendon Milton and serve as the volume editor for Milton's miscellaneous writing. As a Professor of English at Oklahoma State, he has taught Milton to the curious and the dubious, served on the executive committee and as president of the Milton Society of America, and has presented his work at various forums both in the US and abroad.
PART I: ARCHIVAL, EDUCATIONAL, AND RELIGIOUS CONTEXTS ; PART II: LATIN EXPERIMENTS AND ACCOMPLISHMENT ; PART III: EARLY VERNACULAR DEVELOPMENT