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WLIT-Milton Paradise Lost Lecture

WLIT-Milton Paradise Lost Lecture - WLIT 1113 Paradise Lost...

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WLIT 1113 Paradise Lost Lecture John Milton’s Life & The Influence of the Renaissance B. 9 Dec. 1608, D. 8 Nov. 1674. I. His life has three marked stages: 1. Long study and travel abroad period (introduced to literature and literary authors, figures, etc.) Studied at Christ’s College, Cambridge, in order to become a priest (Anglican, I think). Lived off his father for six years following studying pretty much everything encompassed by the humanist curriculum mentioned last time. Milton intended to pursue a political career at this point. Traveled for a year and a half or so after this around Europe, although he was mainly interested in Italy. Met numerous important individuals of the era, including Galileo. Apparently he was quite moved by the Italian experience and became even more anti-catholic. 2. Period of involvement in political and religious controversies—served as Latin Secretary to Oliver Cromwell’s Council of State Produced many, many pamphlets arguing for various political positions. One is kind of funny. In 1642 Milton (there’s less information on the how of this than you might think) picked up a sixteen year old bride named Mary Powell. After a month or so she returns to her family, prompting one to wonder at Milton’s interpersonal skills. She doesn’t return for several years, during which time Milton begins to write pamphlets about and publicly argue for the legality of divorce, Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce (1643) being the most famous. His arguments were mainly with canon law, which the English legal system followed. His arguments were interesting, and the best suggested that, as woman was created to remedy man’s loneliness, if she failed in this task she could and should be divorced. His investment was pretty personal, however, as otherwise the legal process was long and embarrassing. Anyway, he worked for the Cromwell government (Puritan forces who dominated parliament had overthrown the crown in 1640 during the English Civil War) officially taking care of the English Republic’s international communication, which was done in Latin, but he also operated as a propagandist for the government, defending their actions (by which I mean regicide: King Charles I was executed for treason by the new government after several civil wars. The British liked to fight a lot then.).
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3. Period after Cromwell is overthrown when he goes into a kind of seclusion and writes Paradise Lost and later Paradise Regained .
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