John Milton Books



John Milton (eng. John Milton; December 9, 1608, London – November 8, 1674, ibid.) – English poet, politician, thinker. Biography Youth. The first works Milton received a very good education, first at home and at the school of St. Paul, and then at Cambridge University. At the end of the course, he spent five years with his parents in the small town of Gorton (near London), immersed in self-education and self-improvement. This first youthful period of Milton`s life ended in 1637 with a trip to Italy and France, where he met Galileo, Hugo Grotius and other famous people of that time. In contrast to most great people, Milton spent the first half of his life in complete peace of mind; suffering and mental storms darkened his mature age and old age. The light mood of young Milton corresponds to the character of his first poems: * “L`Allegro” (“Merry”) and “Il Penseroso” (“Pensive”), where Milton draws a person in two opposite moods, joyful and contemplatively sad, and shows, how nature is colored for the contemplator with the change of these moods. Both short poems are imbued with immediate feeling and a special grace that characterizes the lyrics of the Elizabethan period and is no longer found in Milton himself. * “Lycidas” (“Lisidas”). Lycidas gives subtle descriptions of idealized rural life, but the mood itself is deeper and reveals the patriotic passions lurking in the poet`s soul; the fanaticism of the revolutionary Puritan is strangely intertwined here with melancholic poetry in the spirit of Petrarch. * “Comus” (“Comus”). This is one of the most brilliant dramatic masks, which were still not in vogue at the time. Maturity From 1639 to 1660, the second period in life and activity lasts. Returning from Italy, he settled in London, educated his nephews and wrote a treatise “On Education” (“Tractate of Education, to Master Samuel Hartlib”), which has a mainly biographical interest and shows Milton`s aversion to all routine. In 1643 he married Mary Powell – and this marriage turned him until then a serene existence into a series of domestic calamities and material hardships. His wife left him in the first year of his life, and her refusal to return drove him to despair. Milton extended his own unfortunate experience of family life to marriage in general and wrote the polemical treatise The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce. In his old age, Milton found himself alone in the close circle of his family – his second wife (the first died early, returning to her husband`s house several years before her death), completely alien to his spiritual life, and two daughters; he forced the latter to read aloud to him in languages ​​they did not understand, which aroused in them an extremely unfriendly attitude towards him. For Milton, there was complete loneliness – and at the same time the time of the greatest creativity. This last period of his life, from 1660 to 1674, was marked by three genius works: “Paradise Lost”, “Paradise Regained” and “Samson the wrestler” (“Samson Agonistes”). Milton and Politics After joining the Independents, Milton devoted a series of political pamphlets to various issues of the day. All these pamphlets testify to the strength of the poet`s rebellious soul and the brilliance of his imagination and eloquence. The most remarkable of his popular rights defenses is devoted to the demand for freedom for the printed word (Areopagitica: A Speech for the Liberty of unlicensed Printing to the Parliament of England). Of the remaining 24 pamphlets, the first (“On the Reformation” – “Of Reformation touching Church Discipline in England and the Causes that hitherto have hindered it”) appeared in 1641, and the last – (“A ready and easy way to establish a free Commonwealth”) in 1660; thus, they cover the entire course of the English revolution. With the onset of parliamentary rule, Milton took over as government secretary for Latin correspondence. Among other commissions carried out by Milton during his secretariat was the response to the anonymous royalist pamphlet “The Image of the King, a Portrait of His Majesty in Solitude and Suffering” (“Eikon Basilike”), which appeared after the execution of Charles I. Milton wrote the pamphlet “The Iconoclast” (“Eikonoklastes”), in which he wittily beat the arguments of the anonymous author. Less successful was Milton`s polemics with other political and religious opponents, Salmasius and Morus. In 1652, Milton went blind, and this seriously affected his material resources, and the restoration of the Stuarts brought him complete ruin; the defeat of his party was even more difficult for Milton. Paradise Lost Paradise Lost appeared in print in 1667, Paradise Returned and Samson the Fighter in 1670. Paradise Lost is a Christian epic about the indignation of angels who fell away from God and the fall of man. In contrast to the heroic epics of Homer and the medieval epics, as well as the poem by Dante, Paradise Lost does not give scope to the poet`s creative invention. Puritan Milton chose a biblical story and conveyed it according to the words of Scripture; moreover, his characters belong for the most part to the realm of the superhuman and do not admit the realism of descriptions. On the other hand, angels and demons, Adam and Eve, and other characters in Milton`s epic have a certain image in the popular imagination brought up on the Bible – and Milton, a deeply national poet, never shies away from these traditions. These features of the material Milton worked on are reflected in his poem; the technical side of the descriptions is conditional, in the presentation there is little imagery; biblical creatures often seem to be just an allegory. The great significance of “Paradise Lost” is in the psychological picture of the struggle between heaven and hell. Milton`s ebullient political passions helped him create a grandiose image of Satan, who was driven to evil by his thirst for freedom. The first song of “Paradise Lost”, where the defeated enemy of the Creator is proud of his fall and builds a pandemonium, sending threats to the sky, is the most inspired song in the entire poem and served as the primary source of Byron`s demonism and all romantics in general. The militant religiosity of the Puritan embodied the spirit of the times in the image of a soul striving for freedom. The pathos of this demonic (in the literal sense of the word) side of “Paradise Lost” corresponds to the idyllic part – poetic descriptions of paradise, the love of the first people and their exile. Countless poetic beauties in the transmission of feelings, the musicality of verse, formidable chords that speak of irreconcilability in the matter of faith, give eternal life to the epic of the 17th century. Paradise Returned and Samson the Fighter Paradise Returned conveys the story of the temptation of Jesus Christ by the spirit of evil and is written in a colder and more artificial manner. In the third poem, written by Milton in his old age – “Samson the Fighter” – the poet reflected in the image of the biblical hero the broken hopes of his party.  From Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia

Paradise Lost

Paradise Lost