77 Facts About John Milton

1.

John Milton served as a civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under its Council of State and later under Oliver Cromwell.

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2.

John Milton was the first modern writer to employ unrhymed verse outside of the theatre or translations.

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3.

John Milton is described as the "greatest English author" by biographer William Hayley, and he remains generally regarded "as one of the preeminent writers in the English language", though critical reception has oscillated in the centuries since his death often on account of his republicanism.

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4.

John Milton was revered by poets such as William Blake, William Wordsworth, and Thomas Hardy.

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5.

John Milton's views developed from extensive reading, travel, and experience that began with his days as a student at Cambridge in the 1620s and continued through the English Civil War, which started in 1642 and continued through 1651.

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6.

The senior John Milton moved to London around 1583 after being disinherited by his devout Catholic father Richard "the Ranger" Milton for embracing Protestantism.

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7.

In London, the senior John Milton married Sarah Jeffrey and found lasting financial success as a scrivener.

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8.

John Milton lived in and worked from a house on Bread Street, where the Mermaid Tavern was located in Cheapside.

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9.

The elder John Milton was noted for his skill as a musical composer, and this talent left his son with a lifelong appreciation for music and friendships with musicians such as Henry Lawes.

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10.

Prosperity of John Milton's father allowed his eldest son to obtain a private tutor, Thomas Young, a Scottish Presbyterian with a MA from the University of St Andrews.

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11.

John Milton was certainly at home in London in the Lent Term 1626; there he wrote Elegia Prima, his first Latin elegy, to Charles Diodati, a friend from St Paul's.

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12.

At Cambridge, John Milton was on good terms with Edward King; he later dedicated "Lycidas" to him.

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13.

John Milton tutored Williams in Hebrew in exchange for lessons in Dutch.

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14.

John Milton was disdainful of the university curriculum, which consisted of stilted formal debates conducted in Latin on abstruse topics.

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15.

John Milton lived at Horton, Berkshire, from 1635 and undertook six years of self-directed private study.

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16.

John Milton read both ancient and modern works of theology, philosophy, history, politics, literature, and science in preparation for a prospective poetical career.

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17.

John Milton continued to write poetry during this period of study; his Arcades and Comus were both commissioned for masques composed for noble patrons, connections of the Egerton family, and performed in 1632 and 1634 respectively.

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18.

John Milton contributed his pastoral elegy Lycidas to a memorial collection for one of his fellow-students at Cambridge.

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19.

John Milton's travels supplemented his study with new and direct experience of artistic and religious traditions, especially Roman Catholicism.

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20.

John Milton met famous theorists and intellectuals of the time, and was able to display his poetic skills.

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21.

John Milton travelled south from Nice to Genoa, and then to Livorno and Pisa.

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22.

John Milton probably visited the Florentine Academy and the Accademia della Crusca along with smaller academies in the area, including the Apatisti and the Svogliati.

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23.

John Milton attended musical events, including oratorios, operas, and melodramas.

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24.

Originally, John Milton wanted to leave Naples in order to travel to Sicily and then on to Greece, but he returned to England during the summer of 1639 because of what he claimed in Defensio Secunda were "sad tidings of civil war in England.

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25.

In Defensio Secunda, John Milton proclaimed that he was warned against a return to Rome because of his frankness about religion, but he stayed in the city for two months and was able to experience Carnival and meet Lukas Holste, a Vatican librarian who guided John Milton through its collection.

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26.

John Milton was introduced to Cardinal Francesco Barberini who invited Milton to an opera hosted by the Cardinal.

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27.

In Venice, John Milton was exposed to a model of Republicanism, later important in his political writings, but he soon found another model when he travelled to Geneva.

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28.

On returning to England where the Bishops' Wars presaged further armed conflict, John Milton began to write prose tracts against episcopacy, in the service of the Puritan and Parliamentary cause.

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29.

John Milton vigorously attacked the High-church party of the Church of England and their leader William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, with frequent passages of real eloquence lighting up the rough controversial style of the period, and deploying a wide knowledge of church history.

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30.

John Milton was supported by his father's investments, but Milton became a private schoolmaster at this time, educating his nephews and other children of the well-to-do.

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31.

John Milton found her intellectually unsatisfying and disliked the royalist views she had absorbed from her family.

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32.

John Milton courted another woman during this time; we know nothing of her except that her name was Davis and she turned him down.

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33.

John Milton's bore him two daughters in quick succession following their reconciliation.

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34.

John Milton worked more slowly than usual, given the European audience and the English Republic's desire to establish diplomatic and cultural legitimacy, as he drew on the learning marshalled by his years of study to compose a riposte.

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35.

In 1654, John Milton completed the second defence of the English nation Defensio secunda in response to an anonymous Royalist tract "Regii Sanguinis Clamor ad Coelum Adversus Parricidas Anglicanos" [The Cry of the Royal Blood to Heaven Against the English Parricides], a work that made many personal attacks on John Milton.

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36.

John Milton held the appointment of Secretary for Foreign Tongues to the Commonwealth Council of State until 1660, although after he had become totally blind, most of the work was done by his deputies, Georg Rudolph Wecklein, then Philip Meadows, and from 1657 by the poet Andrew Marvell.

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37.

John Milton's blindness forced him to dictate his verse and prose to amanuenses who copied them out for him; one of these was Andrew Marvell.

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38.

John Milton re-emerged after a general pardon was issued, but was nevertheless arrested and briefly imprisoned before influential friends intervened, such as Marvell, now an MP.

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39.

John Milton spent the remaining decade of his life living quietly in London, only retiring to a cottage during the Great Plague of London—Milton's Cottage in Chalfont St Giles, his only extant home.

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40.

John Milton's daughters survived to adulthood, but he always had a strained relationship with them.

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41.

John Milton's poetry was slow to see the light of day, at least under his name.

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42.

John Milton's first published poem was "On Shakespeare", anonymously included in the Second Folio edition of William Shakespeare's plays in 1632.

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43.

John Milton collected his work in 1645 Poems in the midst of the excitement attending the possibility of establishing a new English government.

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44.

Some literary critics have argued that John Milton encoded many references to his unyielding support for the "Good Old Cause".

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45.

John Milton followed up the publication Paradise Lost with its sequel Paradise Regained, which was published alongside the tragedy Samson Agonistes in 1671.

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46.

Just before his death in 1674, John Milton supervised a second edition of Paradise Lost, accompanied by an explanation of "why the poem rhymes not", and prefatory verses by Andrew Marvell.

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47.

In 1673, John Milton republished his 1645 Poems, as well as a collection of his letters and the Latin prolusions from his Cambridge days.

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48.

An unfinished religious manifesto, De doctrina christiana, probably written by John Milton, lays out many of his heterodox theological views, and was not discovered and published until 1823.

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49.

Fallon claims that John Milton devised this position to avoid the mind-body dualism of Plato and Descartes as well as the mechanistic determinism of Hobbes.

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50.

Thus, John Milton's political thought, driven by competing convictions, a Reformed faith and a Humanist spirit, led to enigmatic outcomes.

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51.

John Milton fought with the Puritans against the Cavaliers i e the King's party, and helped win the day.

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52.

In coming centuries, John Milton would be claimed as an early apostle of liberalism.

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53.

John Milton praised Oliver Cromwell as the Protectorate was set up; though subsequently he had major reservations.

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54.

When Cromwell seemed to be backsliding as a revolutionary, after a couple of years in power, John Milton moved closer to the position of Sir Henry Vane, to whom he wrote a sonnet in 1652.

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55.

John Milton had already commended Overton, along with Edmund Whalley and Bulstrode Whitelocke, in Defensio Secunda.

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56.

John Milton had argued for an awkward position, in the Ready and Easy Way, because he wanted to invoke the Good Old Cause and gain the support of the republicans, but without offering a democratic solution of any kind.

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57.

John Milton's proposal, backed by reference to the oligarchical Dutch and Venetian constitutions, was for a council with perpetual membership.

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58.

John Milton wrestled with the great doctrines of the Church amidst the theological crosswinds of his age.

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59.

However, John Milton's Calvinism had to find expression in a broad-spirited Humanism.

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60.

John Milton's alleged Arianism, like much of his theology, is still subject of debate and controversy.

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61.

John Milton knew at least four commentaries on Genesis: those of John Calvin, Paulus Fagius, David Pareus and Andreus Rivetus.

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62.

John Milton had come to stand apart from all sects, though apparently finding the Quakers most congenial.

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63.

John Milton never went to any religious services in his later years.

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64.

John Milton called in the Areopagitica for "the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties" to the conflicting Protestant denominations.

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65.

John Milton wrote The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce in 1643, at the beginning of the English Civil War.

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66.

John Milton's thinking on divorce caused him considerable trouble with the authorities.

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67.

John Milton abandoned his campaign to legitimise divorce after 1645, but he expressed support for polygamy in the De Doctrina Christiana, the theological treatise that provides the clearest evidence for his views.

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68.

John Milton wrote during a period when thoughts about divorce were anything but simplistic; rather, there was active debate among thinkers and intellectuals at the time.

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69.

John Milton'story was particularly important for the political class of the period, and Lewalski considers that Milton "more than most illustrates" a remark of Thomas Hobbes on the weight placed at the time on the classical Latin historical writers Tacitus, Livy, Sallust and Cicero, and their republican attitudes.

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70.

John Milton himself wrote that "Worthy deeds are not often destitute of worthy relaters", in Book II of his History of Britain.

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71.

John Milton cast a formidable shadow over English poetry in the 18th and 19th centuries; he was often judged equal or superior to all other English poets, including Shakespeare.

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72.

The German-language John Milton tradition returned to England in the person of the artist Henry Fuseli.

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73.

Samuel Johnson wrote numerous essays on Paradise Lost, and Milton was included in his Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets.

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74.

John Milton's Areopagitica is still cited as relevant to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

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75.

John Milton himself considered the rhymeless quality of Paradise Lost to be an extension of his own personal liberty:.

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76.

John Milton deemed these features to be reflective of "the transcendental union of order and freedom".

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77.

John Milton wrote the hymn Let us with a gladsome mind, a versification of Psalm 136.

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