Milton, Aristocrat and Rebel

February 1993
195 pages
9x6 in
ISBN: 9781878822994
Format: Hardback
University of Rochester Press

Milton, Aristocrat and Rebel

The Poet and his Politics

Perez Zagorin

General survey and discussion of the development of Milton's political ideas, from his early poetry through the English revolution of 1640-1660 to the epic poetry of the Restoration years, and his self-proclaimed role as poet-prophet.
Perez Zagorin presents an account of Milton's philosophy set in relationship to his personal and intellectual history as a political man during the English revolution. He follows Milton's mind in its political manifestations from his earlier poetry before the outbreak of revolt against the Stuart monarchy, through his activity as a passionate partisan and revolutionary publicist in the decades 1640-1660, to his final work as an epic poet following the revolution's failure and the restoration of Charles II in 1660.
Throughout his life, Milton saw his political beliefs and his idea of the poet as prophet and teacher of nations as being inseparable. His political writings and basic conception of himself as a rebel against the existing political and religious order, thoughtfully traced in this study, demonstrate the fundamental continuity of his values and ensure his place in the English republican tradition.
PEREZ ZAGORINis Wilson Professor Emeritus of History, University of Rochester.


In five chapters, organised around Milton's life before, during and after the Revolution, which he sees as the central political event of the era for Milton, Zagorin offers, in effect, Milton's political biography, stressing the reciprocity of liberty and virtue at every stage of the poet's development...bas[ing] his arguments in detailed close readings of all of Milton's works. [Advanced undergraduate; graduate; faculty.] CHOICENo better concise account of Milton@s political writings and of his personal involvement in politics... he has a profound sympathy for his subject and does full justice to his ideals of spiritual and civil liberty, his high courage, and his constancy in defeat. HISTORY A concise and balanced account of Milton's involvement in the English Revolution, and of the political ideas that he developed as a polemicist for the parliamentarian cause and later as an official apologist for the Commonwealth, fills a real need... Zagorin's ripe scholarship and consistently sound judgment make him an excellent guide. HISTORY OF POLITICAL THOUGHT [Austin Woolrych, Summer '94]