John Milton

John Milton

John Milton

John Milton

Excerpt

It is impossible to separate Milton's life and works: his prose cannot be understood without some knowledge of his life and times, and his life cannot be understood without a thorough knowledge of the autobiographical passages in his prose and verse. I have therefore discussed the content of his prose works in chapters dealing with his life, though I have added a short chapter on his prose style. In a book of this kind it was neither possible nor expedient to discuss many of Milton's minor works, but the Bibliography will, I hope, do something to repair my omissions.

For various reasons, any book about Milton is liable to arouse undue irritation in some of its readers, and the controversies his work inspires are 'not without dust and heat'. Even in such a brief book it was impossible to ignore the controversies, but I have tried not to increase the heat.

Every writer on Milton must be deeply indebted to his predecessors, and I have learnt as much from those with whom I often disagree, such as Mr. Eliot and Dr. Leavis, as from those with whom I have generally agreed. I have learnt a great deal from Professor W. R. Parker, with whom I discussed Milton some twenty-five years ago, although I have recorded my disagreement with some of his theories. I have to acknowledge the helpful criticism of my colleagues, Mr. K. Allott, Mr. A. Davenport and Mr. E. Schanzer, who read the book in manuscript.

For the English poems I have relied mainly on the original texts; for the English prose works on the . . .

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