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Literature and Politics in Cromwellian England$
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Blair Worden

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199230822

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199230822.001.0001

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Milton and Nedham

Milton and Nedham

(p.31) 2 Milton and Nedham
Literature and Politics in Cromwellian England

Blair Worden

Oxford University Press

John Milton's friendships can be hard to imagine. In his own accounts of himself he yearned for friendship and treasured it when he found it. True friendship, he maintained, survives when tested. So when, late in the 17th century, Anthony Wood stated that Marchamont Nedham was ‘a great crony of Milton’, one may at first be sceptical. However one has on the authority of Milton's nephew Edward Phillips that Nedham was among the ‘particular friends’ who, ‘all the time’ appeared at or ‘frequently visited’ Milton's ‘abode’ in Petty France. Nedham himself lived nearby, in Westminster Churchyard. As the merest glance at their careers in the 1650s suggests, their contact was not merely social. Friendships can be attractions of opposites, and in Milton and Nedham there were doubtless many opposites to attract. Nedham's unblushing acknowledgements of his ‘tergiversations’ contrast with Milton's massive and irreducible sense of his own constancy.

Keywords:   John Milton, friendships, Anthony Wood, Marchamont Nedham, crony, Edward Phillips, France, poet

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