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Happy Birthday John Milton

December 9, 2014



John Milton was not only England’s greatest epic poet, he was also one of England’s greatest republicans. Paradise Lost is, among other, an epic interrogation of the nature of power. It is an intensely controversial poem in which the nature of tyranny and political virtue is tried and tested. In some of the most powerful and syntactically convoluted verse every written in English, Milton eventually makes a hero out of the reader her or himself.

He worked translating foreign documents during the commonwealth period, but he was more important as a pamphleteer and controversialist. Author of The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates and Eikonoklastes in English and Defensio pro Populo Anglicano and Defensio Secunda in Latin, Milton became the international champion of English republicanism. He repeatedly argued for the principle that power is contractual and that the people have the right (and perhaps also the duty) to bring their rulers…

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