John Milton (1608-1674) is one of the great English poets, known especially for his works Paradise Lost, considered by man the greatest epic poem in the English language, and Paradise Regained. Although he wrote some poetry as a young man studying at Cambridge University and immediately thereafter, in the 1640s he became occupied with the political turmoil of the English Civil War, publishing pamphlets advocating reform of the Church of England and writing Areopagitica, his famous defense of a free press. After the execution of Charles I, he served the government of Oliver Cromwell and continued to publish political works. Upon the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, he was forced into hiding for a period and later was included in the general amnesty. During this period, he began working in earnest on Paradise Lost. This epic poem tells the story of Satan’s rebellion against God and his hand in the Fall of Adam and Eve. Paradise Regained is a sequel about Christ’s temptation in the wilderness and his successful resistance, which in Milton’s conception to a certain extent redeems humanity. Both works are admired for their vivid characterizations of the Biblical figures, and the beauty and richness of the language. Milton also is remembered for his fine sonnets and religious essays.
Condition: Generally very good with the usual overall light oxidation and wear.
“John Milton.” The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th Ed. New York: Columbia University Press: 2001. (30 August 2002).