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Milton and the English Revolution de…
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Milton and the English Revolution (1977 original; edició 1979)

de Christopher Hill (Autor)

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Hill uses the learning gathered in a lifetime's study of 17th-century England to carry out a major reassessment of Milton as man, politician, poet and, above all, religious thinker.
Membre:CalAnderson
Títol:Milton and the English Revolution
Autors:Christopher Hill (Autor)
Informació:Penguin Books (1979), 541 pages
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Milton and the English Revolution de Christopher Hill (1977)

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Milton and the English Revolution is very much an historian's view of the poet. He wants to put Milton firmly in the context of his own time, and goes to some trouble to show us how much Milton's unconventional political and theological ideas (actually, in the 17th century there's not much point trying to separate politics from theology) reflect and overlap with similar ideas that were being expressed by people in the radical underground - the Diggers, Levellers, Ranters, Quakers, Muggletonians, Fifth Monarchy Men, Seekers, and all the rest. It's interesting to put this side-by-side with Kerrigan's The prophetic Milton, which I was reading a couple of weeks ago, and which was written at about the same time. Both Hill and Kerrigan assign more or less the same set of heretical beliefs to Milton, but Kerrigan shows how he would have reached them by following a logical line through patristic theology and Calvin; Hill points out where he could have picked them up in pamphlets, tavern-talk and reports of court cases. And presumably they are both right, since Milton clearly did have all those authorities at his fingertips and also clearly associated with many people who were at least sympathetic to radical ideas. Hill's general conclusion is that Milton, taking his protestantism to its logical conclusion, took ideas from wherever he found them and tested them against his own conscience. He seems to have used the text of the Bible as a safety net to avoid falling into complete antinomianism, hence a lot of the points where Milton doesn't seem to take things to their full conclusion (e.g. his insistence on stating that Eve is inferior to Adam even though all the language he uses about her makes us feel that he doesn't quite believe that).

One really interesting thing for me was Hill's reminder that Milton did live in a world where there was always some sort of censorship going on (how much and what it was trying to stop varied widely during the decades of Milton's writing career, of course). Expressing ideas considered blasphemous, heretical, or politically inexpedient could easily land you in jail (or worse). Milton was obviously an expert political propagandist, and Hill suggests that we need to look carefully at what Milton wrote at different points in his career in the context of what he could say, and of whom he was trying to persuade. His passionate sincerity is always clear, but he isn't necessarily saying everything he might have wished to. At least some of what would otherwise look like puzzling changes of mind in the political pamphlets do seem to make perfect sense when we realise the constraints they were written under. This also explains the apparent discrepancies between Paradise Lost (published commercially in English in Milton's lifetime) and De Doctrina Christiana (written in Latin and set aside for posthumous publication, then forgotten in a cupboard in the Record Office for 150 years...).

As always, Hill is a lively and articulate writer, although you are bound to lose track from time to time of which sect was which (I've always thought I'd like to be a Muggletonian, just for the sake of the name...). Well worth a read if you're interested in the period and already know your way around Milton a bit. ( )
  thorold | Apr 8, 2017 |
This is a comprehensive and wide ranging analysis of Milton, his life and his writing. Here Hill provides the personal. social, intellectual, religious and historical background to all of Milton's major works and, helpfully for the student, detailed sections dealing with each of his major poetical works. However Hill's analysis is not without issues, as a Marxist historian he analyses Milton and his involvement with the death of King Charles I from a particular theoretical perspective, this does not necessary undermine all his conclusions, but means that this book should be read with some caution. ( )
  riverwillow | Aug 1, 2010 |
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This book is dedicated in gratitude to the memory of Don M. Wolfe, who devoted a lifetime to the study of Milton, but never forgot Richard Overton and Gerrard Winstanley.
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Milton is a more controversial figure than any other English poet.
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Hill uses the learning gathered in a lifetime's study of 17th-century England to carry out a major reassessment of Milton as man, politician, poet and, above all, religious thinker.

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