MIL TON AND THE ENGLISH REVOLUTION

Michael Wilding

Abstract


To get a proper sense of Milton in the English revolution we need to look not only at his work during the revolutionary period, but also at his early writings in the pre-revolutionary years, and at the mature works produced after the restoration. For years now the blandly disseminated view of the pre-revolutionary decades of the early seventeenth century has held that the works of English literature of those years belong to a non-political world. It was a depoliticization made possible by an unawareness of the extent and effects of censorship, and a consequent refusal to decode political meanings from the literary texts. But the revolution did not suddenly appear from nowhere. And if we look at Milton's poetry of the 1630s we can see evidence of the social tensions, and unmistakable assertions of revolutionary sentiments.

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