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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: 23 January 2022

‘To Secure Our Freedom’

‘To Secure Our Freedom’

How A Mask Presented at Ludlow-Castle Became Milton’s Comus

Chapter:
(p.143) 7 ‘To Secure Our Freedom’
Source:
Milton in the Long Restoration
Author(s):

Blaine Greteman

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198769774.003.0008

This chapter explores the eighteenth-century afterlife of Milton’s Mask, as it was renamed Comus and reshaped into an expression of Protestant poetics and Whiggish political opposition. Music by Thomas Arne, new text by John Dalton, and branding by the publisher Robert Dodsley made Comus speak to its moment and helped define its critical legacy in ways that are not widely understood. In its altered form, Comus became one of Milton’s most popular, if partly apocryphal, works. By studying the publication and performance networks responsible for the text’s transformation, we gain insight not only into the text’s eighteenth-century reception, but also the more recent scholarly tendency to misread Milton’s early Mask as an expression of his later reformist zeal.

Keywords:   Comus, Mask, Whig politics, print history, children’s literature

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