Milton and Radicalism

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In the half-century before the quatercentenary of Milton’s birth in 2008, the dominant attention to his poetry and prose was of a historical nature and focused on exploring in detail his career as an apologist for aspects of the English Revolution: Versions of radical Puritanism; republicanism; and domestic reform in the shape of the divorce argument. Yet the recent resurgence of formalist approaches, with particular focus on the poetry, has obscured or banished the politics, and work on Milton and philosophical/scientific reform has produced a picture not of the seventeenth-century Voltaire or Jefferson but of a republican Newton. This chapter insists on Milton’s identity as a radical religious and political thinker, writer, and actor, over and against some recent contrary arguments, taking account of a more recent return to historical scholarship, where some of that work has been inspired by changing definitions of radicalism in our own time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMaking Milton
Subtitle of host publicationPrint, Authorship, Afterlives
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780198821892
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


  • antitrinitarianism
  • classicism
  • formalism
  • heresy
  • liberty
  • radicalism
  • republicanism
  • revolution
  • slavery
  • tyranny


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