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God's InstrumentsPolitical Conduct in the England of Oliver Cromwell$
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Blair Worden

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199570492

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570492.001.0001

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John Milton: Life and Writing

John Milton: Life and Writing

(p.355) 9 John Milton: Life and Writing
God's Instruments

Blair Worden

Oxford University Press

In 1660 Milton narrowly escapes a hideous execution for his writings against Charles I. In 1737 he was given a monument, as a poet, in Westminster Abbey. On the whole posterity has liked Milton's poetry and disliked his politics. But why did Milton give so much of his life to the latter? Why did he write so little verse, and so much prose, during the civil wars? Why, in his autobiographical reflections of 1654, did he give no indication that he had ever written poetry or ever would? The chapter examines Milton's own sense of himself and of his role in the nation's life. It and shows how his poetry his and prose, however different in their literary properties, served shared purposes.

Keywords:   Milton, Cromwell, reform, liberty, prose, poetry

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