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'The best short life of Milton currently available.' Times Educational Supplement

John Milton (1608-1674) is widely considered one of the greatest poets in the English language. His many works include magnificent poems, polemics, history, theology, and treatises on political, eccleasiastical and social issues. No writer before Milton so consciously defined himself as an author both in poetry and in prose as his God vocation.
Milton was born in London, the son of a musical composer, and was educated at St Paul's School and a Christ's College, Cambridge. While he initially studied to become a clergyman, he began early to read and write poetry in Latin, Italian and English. After graduating, Milton returned home and spent several years studying languages and theology, becoming more serious and capable in his poetic output, writing some of his best known works such as L'Allegro (1632) and Lycidas (1637). After travelling in Europe for a couple of years, he returned to England and the turmoil of the Civil War. Over the next twenty years, Milton's poetic writing was put aside and his work became predominantly political. The pamphlets he wrote, against the episcopal church and in support of the republic, and the work that he did for Cromwell and the Commonwealth, resulted in his arrest after the Restoration.
It was during the Civil War that Milton's eyesight began to deteriorate, and by 1651 he was completely blind. By this time he had already written his most famous works, Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained, and he spent the rest of his life as a relatively poor man, writing poetry that he dictated to his daughter or his friends.


'Warmly recommended for its intelligence and readability.'

The Times

Concise, balanced and wide-ranging, it deserves to become the standard life.'

London Magazine

The brightest and best short biography of Milton ever written.


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Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback


    April 5, 2002


    288 pages

    RRP $45.00

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