England's great poet is a frustrating subject for a Life
Milton: Poet, pamphleteer and patriot By Anna Beer Bloomsbury Pounds 20
There were "perhaps" sweetmeats and junkets at the baptism of John Milton. "Perhaps" his father received a special cake. The celebration "might" have continued in the local inns later in the day.
This kind of suppositious language, the stock-in-trade of biographers faced with a dearth of hard fact, appears on the first page of Anna Beer's account of John Milton's life and work. Elsewhere she is fastidious in avoiding it, even having a bit of fun with those who are less scrupulous. Here, for instance, is AN Wilson, from his …