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Milton, John

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Title page of the first edition of John Milton...

Title page of the first edition of John Milton’s “Paradise lost” from 1668 via Wikipedia

John Milton (1608-74) was one of the great English poets, surpassed in acclaim only by William Shakespeare.

Unlike Shakespeare, who was not affiliated with a university, Milton was educated at Cambridge and went on to become a prominent European gentleman and man of letters.

His Aeropagata on Education argues for freedom of the press and reveals his many friendly contacts with European notables-that is, persons of societal rank and so-called culture.

A Puritan, Milton became entirely blind in 1651 but later in 1667 wrote his well-known classic, Paradise Lost.

Paradise Lost includes Milton’s imaginative view of the events precipitating the original sin of Adam and Eve. The first part of the epic deals with Satan’s estrangement from God. The second portrays Satan’s arrival on Earth with legions of bellicose minions. The final portion deals with the temptation in the Garden of Eden.

Milton gave a great deal of thought to the work, considering various classical and even Arthurian texts before setting on the finished version. His general rule in writing was to use universally understood motifs. But the considerable erudition embedded within his verse demands explanatory notes for most readers.

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