Academic journal article Leviathan

Melville's Milton: A Transcription of Melville's Marginalia in His Copy of the Poetical Works of John Milton

Academic journal article Leviathan

Melville's Milton: A Transcription of Melville's Marginalia in His Copy of the Poetical Works of John Milton

Article excerpt

The poems collected in The Poetical Works of John Milton span Milton's career, from his earliest lyric poems, masque, and pastoral elegy, to Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained, to his dramatic poem Samson Agonistes. The two-volume set also includes John Mitford's heavily-footnoted introduction, which details Milton's career, politics, and theological beliefs. Melville's annotations, underlinings, marginal scorings, Xs and checkings appear throughout the entire set and represent his reading on at least three dated occasions: 1849, 1860, and 1868. Our transcription of the marked passages from Mitford's introduction and Milton's poetry render Melville's markings and comments in terms of both content and placement as precisely as the transcription process allows. Melville's erased annotations are noted, and questionable readings are placed in brackets. As noted, we also include the scored, underlined, and annotated portions of the Mitford introduction. We include the content of Mitford's footnotes appearing in passages that Melville marked, even if Melville did not mark the footnote itself, to give readers some sense of the Milton scholarship to which Melville had access. To aid readers, we provide enough unmarked lines in an annotated passage to provide context for the targeted lines. We also add contextualizing information (the names of the speakers in the long poems) at the head of the separate passages marked by Melville. …

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