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Milton's History of BritainRepublican Historiography in the English Revolution$
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Nicholas von Maltzahn

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780198128977

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198128977.001.0001

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The Background to Milton's History

The Background to Milton's History

(p.49) 3 The Background to Milton's History
Milton's History of Britain

Nicholas von Maltzahn

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses John Milton's preparation as a national historian. In particular, by observing the History of Britain in the genre of the national history, the peculiarity of some of Milton's decisions as an English historian begins to emerge. His ambitions as an historian were shaped by the persistent demand in early modern England for a great national history. Milton's response to the perceived inadequacies of English historiography may be inferred from the introduction to the History itself. Milton's models for his prose history are described. Milton determines the monks as especially unreliable in civil matters because, he states, they so persistently confuse the manifestation of ordinary and extraordinary providence.

Keywords:   John Milton, History, English national historian, modern England, historiography

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