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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, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 06 December 2021

Critical Mass

Critical Mass

Contextualizing Bentley’s Paradise Lost

(p.22) 2 Critical Mass
Milton in the Long Restoration

David A. Harper

Oxford University Press

Since its publication in 1732, most readers and scholars have treated Richard Bentley’s edition of Paradise Lost with hardly muted laughter, finding it easy to dismiss as an aberration in a teleology of modern editing practice. However, when considered as a response to a nascent English critical tradition that was arising around Milton’s epic as admirers attempted to defuse its political content, Bentley’s edition may be better contextualized and understood. Far from being the singular, monstrous creation it was made out to be by the wits of the time, Bentley’s project becomes more intelligible (if still not quite defensible) in light of its contextual relationship to the critical and editorial work of John Dennis, Joseph Addison, and Alexander Pope.

Keywords:   Richard Bentley, John Milton, Paradise Lost, editorial practice, John Dennis, Joseph Addison, Alexander Pope

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