This book is the product of many years of teaching and research at Stanford University. During the course of its preparation I have received helpful advice from numerous friends and colleagues, in particular from Professors John Bender, George Dekker, Suvir Kaul, Stephen Orgel, and Jay Fliegelman, who read early drafts of several chapters, and from Professors David Kennedy, John Leonard, Herbie Lindenberger, and David Riggs, who read the final draft of the entire manuscript. I am also grateful to the anonymous reader for Cornell University Press whose comments and suggestions strengthened my argument at several crucial points, and to my research assistant, G. E. Light, for his valuable assistance in preparing the manuscript for the press. Finally, I would like to record my gratitude to Professor Paul G. Stanwood for permission to incorporate into chapters 1 and 3 material from my paper "Milton's Imperial Epic," which recently appeared in his edition of the proceedings of the Fourth International Milton Symposium, Of Poetry and Politics: New Essays on Milton and His World, and to the Deans of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford University, who made available to me the necessary resources to see this study through to a conclusion.
J. M. E.