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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 the New Order

Milton and the New Order

(p.180) 8 Milton and the New Order
Literature and Politics in Cromwellian England

Blair Worden

Oxford University Press

John Milton and Marchamont Nedham were fellow writers for the government that came to power in 1649. The treatises that Milton published for the government were written in its first two years, when its rule was precarious. In their vindications of the regicide and of the rule of the republic, Milton's and Nedham's writings developed common arguments and a common vocabulary. The resemblances, at least in their persistence, set their prose apart from the run of polemic in the Puritan cause. Behind its shared features lie premisses and rhetorical methods that derive largely from the classical world, to whose history, and to whose civic values, both writers so often appeal. From that source they acquired a confident intellectual cosmopolitanism that is rarely matched in other defences of the new order of 1649–53, most of which were narrowly biblical or providentialist or legal or prudential in scope.

Keywords:   John Milton, Marchamont Nedham, writers, government, treatises, regicide, polemic, cosmopolitanism, new order, providentialist

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