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Milton in the Long Restoration$
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Blair Hoxby and Ann Baynes Coiro

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198769774

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198769774.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 16 May 2022

Early Modern Marriage in a Secular Age

Early Modern Marriage in a Secular Age

Beyond the Sexual Contract

(p.363) 19 Early Modern Marriage in a Secular Age
Milton in the Long Restoration

Sharon Achinstein

Oxford University Press

The chapter observes that although there was no significant divorce legislation in England between the Reformation and 1857, nonetheless the topic of divorce was often discussed during the period of the Long Restoration. John Milton’s writings on divorce are a key lens through which to observe the changing views of the goals of marriage, the family, and relations between familial, civil, and religious institutions in the period. The chapter shows how John Locke, Daniel Defoe, and Samuel Pufendorf responded to Milton’s representations of marriage and divorce in Paradise Lost and the Divorce Tracts. Exploring their various views about affective relationships, and political, religious, and economic notions of the family, the chapter challenges the critical alignment of political contract with marriage contract, and the presumption of secularism in the story of the sexual contract in the construction of the Early Modern secular state.

Keywords:   marriage history in England, sexual contract, John Milton, Defoe, John Locke, divorce history in England

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