Milton's Burden of Interpretation

By Dayton Haskin | Go to book overview

Texts and Abbreviations

Sixteenth-and seventeenth-century spelling is often startling to eyes trained to correct "errors:" Its eccentricities help to remind us of some differences between Milton's era and our own. Much of this book concerns such matters, and in quoting from early printed sources I have retained the original spelling and punctuation to highlight some material differences. (Abbreviations have generally been expanded, however.) By the same token, I have sometimes cited sixteenth-and seventeenth-century editions when modernized editions are available. In the case of quotations from the Bible, for ease of reference and unless otherwise noted, I have cited the American Bible Society edition of the Authorized ( King James) Version of 1611. I have respected the practice found in the Geneva Bible and the Authorized Version where words with no equivalents in the original text are set in italic type. Not only was this familiar to readers in Milton's time, it often helped to alert them to interpretive issues.

In quoting from Milton's poems, I have used The Works of John Milton, gen. ed. Frank Allen Patterson ( New York: Columbia University Press, 1931-38), which preserves seventeenth-century orthography.

In reproducing original titles from early printed works, I have given longer titles when these have seemed revealing of the nature and scope of their contents. Upper-case and lower-case usages have been retained when this was feasible; where preserving the original would seem unduly distracting, however, I have normalized them. Roman and italic type titles are rendered throughout in italic.

Abbreviations of Frequently Cited Works
CPW Complete Prose Works of John Milton. Ed. Don M. Wolfe et al. 8
vols. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1953-82.
GA John Bunyan. Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners. Ed. Roger Sharrock. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1962.

-xxi-

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