Read The Complete Poems and Major Prose by John Milton Free Online
Book Title: The Complete Poems and Major Prose|
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Reader ratings: 6.1
The author of the book: John Milton
Edition: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.
Date of issue: July 1st 2003
ISBN 13: 9780872206786
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 977 KB
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I won't write a long review for this work, as I've written individual reviews for most of the works contained in it (Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, Comus, Samson Agonistes, Doctrine of Divorce, Christian Doctrine, etc.).
I picked up this collection about 8 or 9 years ago with the intent of getting to it eventually, never anticipating that it would take me almost a decade to crack it open -- other books beckoning me and always diverting me from visiting Milton. While I was familiar with Paradise Lost inasmuch as it is so entrenched in the cultural lexicon of the Western World, I thought of Milton as likely a bit stale. And it surely helped little that Donald Sutherland's character in Animal House had this to say about that other great English bard (Shakespeare being the first):
I find Milton probably as boring as you find Milton. Mrs. Milton found him boring too. He's a little bit long-winded, he doesn't translate very well into our generation, and his jokes are terrible.
I began with Paradise Lost, as it was a selection that my reading group decided to tackle, and I actually found that work very fresh, but when I dove back into the earlier poetry of Milton, and then into some of his prose, I did find him a bit more of a bore, to be honest.
But in works like Samson Agonistes, Paradise Regained and his treatises against the monarchy, he showed himself to be an interesting companion -- very erudite, and at times excessively long-winded, but informative. My experiences with John Milton were like a dinner party with a host that one is at first glad to see, but whose presence becomes tiring after a while. I'm pleased to have read Milton, as he has left a major mark on Western literature; and he will not be soon forgotten, but I doubt very highly that I would pay him a visit again (at least not any time in the foreseeable future).
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Read information about the authorJohn Milton was an English poet, polemicist, man of letters, and a civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under Oliver Cromwell. He wrote at a time of religious flux and political upheaval, and is best known for his epic poem Paradise Lost (1667), written in blank verse.
Milton's poetry and prose reflect deep personal convictions, a passion for freedom and self-determination, and the urgent issues and political turbulence of his day. Writing in English, Latin, Greek, and Italian, he achieved international renown within his lifetime, and his celebrated Areopagitica (1644)—written in condemnation of pre-publication censorship—is among history's most influential and impassioned defenses of free speech and freedom of the press.
William Hayley's 1796 biography called him the "greatest English author," and he remains generally regarded "as one of the preeminent writers in the English language," though critical reception has oscillated in the centuries since his death (often on account of his republicanism). Samuel Johnson praised Paradise Lost as "a poem which...with respect to design may claim the first place, and with respect to performance, the second, among the productions of the human mind," though he (a Tory and recipient of royal patronage) described Milton's politics as those of an "acrimonious and surly republican".
Because of his republicanism, Milton has been the subject of centuries of British partisanship.
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