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Writing LivesBiography and Textuality, Identity and Representation in Early Modern England$
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Kevin Sharpe and Steven N. Zwicker

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199698233

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199698233.001.0001

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The Early Lives of John Milton

The Early Lives of John Milton

(p.75) 4 The Early Lives of John Milton
Writing Lives

Thomas N. Corns

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents an account of the early lives of English poet and man of letters, John Milton. It examines five different but interconnected texts, all of which are found in The Early Lives of John Milton, edited by Helen Darbishire and published in 1932: Minutes of the Life of Mr John Milton, by John Aubrey; The Life of Mr John Milton, attributed to Cyriack Skinner; Athenae Oxonienses…to which is added The Fasti or Annals of the said University, by Anthony Wood; Letters of State, Written by Mr John Milton…To which is added, An Account of his Life, edited by Edward Phillips; and A Complete Collection of the Historical, Political and Miscellaneous Works of John Milton…to which is prefix’d the life of the author, edited by John Toland. The chapter notes some important differences between the early lives of Milton as well as the topics they tackle, from Milton’s marriage and sex life to his blindness and coping strategies, radicalism, and travels around Italy. Finally, it discusses the value of Milton’s early lives for those who want to write a modern biography of him.

Keywords:   marriage, John Milton, The Early Lives of John Milton, Helen Darbishire, John Aubrey, Anthony Wood, Edward Phillips, sex life, blindness, biography

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