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About this exhibit

Curators:
   Thomas Fulton, Department of English, Rutgers University
   Fernanda Perrone, Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries

Thanks largely to the work of J. Milton French (or "Milton"), Rutgers professor from 1940 to 1960, and to the generosity of donors and alumni, Rutgers owns an exceptionally large collection of Milton´s works. It is among the top five collections in American public academic libraries. This digital exhibition is based on a physical exhibition, John Milton and the Cultures of Print, on display at the Special Collections and University Archives Gallery at Rutgers University Libraries from February 3 to May 31, 2011. The complete catalog of this exhibition can be viewed here. The digital version represents this exhibition, but does not include every object or the complete text.


Introduction

John Milton was born in 1608 to a century of revolution — in politics, in print media, in science and the arts. By the time he died in 1674, Britain had experienced the governments of three different Stuart monarchs, the protectorate of Oliver Cromwell, and a few short-lived experiments in republican government. In the midst of this turbulent period, governmental controls on printing varied considerably, with the most profound release of censorship occurring in 1640–41, at the onset of the English Civil War, a war between Puritans and Anglicans, and between Parliamentarians and Royalists. But control of the press occurred during the wars and the Interregnum, and in part because of these political changes, the written word took an extraordinarily wide variety of forms, from short poems hand-written on a single manuscript leaf to printed treatises, from broadsides and incendiary pamphlets costing a few pennies to massive bound folios.

This exhibition of Milton´s writing represents the key moments in his long career in relation to the changing world of print and other forms of written expression. Milton´s early poetic career was interrupted in 1640 by civil wars that transformed England´s state from a hereditary monarchy into a republican experiment in government. During these turbulent years, Milton largely postponed his poetic aspirations to devote himself to polemical, theological, and historical prose. After the restoration of the English monarchy in 1660, the now blind poet produced his greatest masterpieces, among them the epic Paradise Lost. The epic was immediately hailed, in the words of the poet John Dryden, as "one of the most sublime poems this age or nation has produced."


Acknowledgements

New Jersey Council for the Humanities

This exhibition was made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations in the exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.

We would like to thank Sam McDonald, Chad Mills and Carla Zimmerman of the Rutgers University Libraries for designing and mounting the digital exhibition.

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MILTON'S LIBRARY: Milton's personal letters show that his access to books came in part from... more
MILTON'S LIBRARY: Milton's personal letters show that his access to books came in part from libraries and borrowed books, but also from his own substantial collection, which he had amassed from books acquired at shops in London and Europe. Regrettably, unlike contemporaries whose libraries are still intact or whose collections can be reconstructed with shelf lists or signed books, few of Milton's actual books can be identified with certainty: there are extant only seven books from Milton's own library. This is probably because he stopped signing books quite early in his career. Yet, like many early modern writers and readers, Milton kept a reading notebook or a Commonplace Book, which was a structured repository for reading notes. From this manuscript, in conjunction with references in his written work, we are able to piece together a detailed record of what Milton read and what he took away from his reading. This manuscript is presently housed in the British Library. less
MILTON'S LIBRARY: Milton's personal letters show that his access to books came in part from... more
MILTON'S LIBRARY: Milton's personal letters show that his access to books came in part from libraries and borrowed books, but also from his own substantial collection, which he had amassed from books acquired at shops in London and Europe. Regrettably, unlike contemporaries whose libraries are still intact or whose collections can be reconstructed with shelf lists or signed books, few of Milton's actual books can be identified with certainty: there are extant only seven books from Milton's own library. This is probably because he stopped signing books quite early in his career. Yet, like many early modern writers and readers, Milton kept a reading notebook or a Commonplace Book, which was a structured repository for reading notes. From this manuscript, in conjunction with references in his written work, we are able to piece together a detailed record of what Milton read and what he took away from his reading. This manuscript is presently housed in the British Library. less
MILTON'S LIBRARY: Milton's personal letters show that his access to books came in part from... more
MILTON'S LIBRARY: Milton's personal letters show that his access to books came in part from libraries and borrowed books, but also from his own substantial collection, which he had amassed from books acquired at shops in London and Europe. Regrettably, unlike contemporaries whose libraries are still intact or whose collections can be reconstructed with shelf lists or signed books, few of Milton's actual books can be identified with certainty: there are extant only seven books from Milton's own library. This is probably because he stopped signing books quite early in his career. Yet, like many early modern writers and readers, Milton kept a reading notebook or a Commonplace Book, which was a structured repository for reading notes. From this manuscript, in conjunction with references in his written work, we are able to piece together a detailed record of what Milton read and what he took away from his reading. This manuscript is presently housed in the British Library. less
MILTON'S LIBRARY: Milton's personal letters show that his access to books came in part from... more
MILTON'S LIBRARY: Milton's personal letters show that his access to books came in part from libraries and borrowed books, but also from his own substantial collection, which he had amassed from books acquired at shops in London and Europe. Regrettably, unlike contemporaries whose libraries are still intact or whose collections can be reconstructed with shelf lists or signed books, few of Milton's actual books can be identified with certainty: there are extant only seven books from Milton's own library. This is probably because he stopped signing books quite early in his career. Yet, like many early modern writers and readers, Milton kept a reading notebook or a Commonplace Book, which was a structured repository for reading notes. From this manuscript, in conjunction with references in his written work, we are able to piece together a detailed record of what Milton read and what he took away from his reading. This manuscript is presently housed in the British Library. less
MILTON'S EARLY POETRY: Like most early modern poets, Milton circulated his poems in manuscript and... more
MILTON'S EARLY POETRY: Like most early modern poets, Milton circulated his poems in manuscript and eventually collected them -- or, at least, those fit to print -- into a printed volume. Many poets, such as John Donne, never lived to see the majority of their poems in print, in part because manuscript circulation still provided an extremely effective form of publication. More comfortable with the print marketplace than some contemporaries, Milton put out two volumes of poetry during his lifetime: the first, printed at the age of thirty-seven during the civil wars in 1645, and the second in 1673, the year before he died. A few of his short poems also appeared in print separately, such as the poem to Shakespeare, the first of this poems to appear in print in 1632. Some of his poetry, such as the sonnets to Fairfax and Cromwell, were not fit to print in his lifetime. less
MILTON'S EARLY POETRY: Like most early modern poets, Milton circulated his poems in manuscript and... more
MILTON'S EARLY POETRY: Like most early modern poets, Milton circulated his poems in manuscript and eventually collected them –- or, at least, those fit to print –- into a printed volume. Many poets, such as John Donne, never lived to see the majority of their poems in print, in part because manuscript circulation still provided an extremely effective form of publication. More comfortable with the print marketplace than some contemporaries, Milton put out two volumes of poetry during his lifetime: the first, printed at the age of thirty-seven during the civil wars in 1645, and the second in 1673, the year before he died. A few of his short poems also appeared in print separately, such as the poem to Shakespeare, the first of this poems to appear in print in 1632. Some of his poetry, such as the sonnets to Fairfax and Cromwell, were not fit to print in his lifetime. less
THE SCRIBAL PUBLICATION OF VERSE: The scribal “publication” of these poems was probably as... more
THE SCRIBAL PUBLICATION OF VERSE: The scribal “publication” of these poems was probably as effective as print, since even now over 4,000 extant manuscript texts attest to an extraordinary rate of production. Survival rates vary in puzzling ways: in spite of the value they must have had even then, the survival rate of poems in Donne’s own hand is extraordinarily low: only one survives, and it was discovered n 1970. Scribal circulation was the central mode of publication for poets like Donne, Thomas Traherne, Andrew Marvell, or Katherine Phillips, most of whose poetry was not printed until after their deaths. less
THE SCRIBAL PUBLICATION OF VERSE: The scribal “publication” of these poems was probably as... more
THE SCRIBAL PUBLICATION OF VERSE: The scribal “publication” of these poems was probably as effective as print, since even now over 4,000 extant manuscript texts attest to an extraordinary rate of production. Survival rates vary in puzzling ways: in spite of the value they must have had even then, the survival rate of poems in Donne’s own hand is extraordinarily low: only one survives, and it was discovered n 1970. Scribal circulation was the central mode of publication for poets like Donne, Thomas Traherne, Andrew Marvell, or Katherine Phillips, most of whose poetry was not printed until after their deaths. less
THE SCRIBAL PUBLICATION OF VERSE: The scribal “publication” of these poems was probably as... more
THE SCRIBAL PUBLICATION OF VERSE: The scribal “publication” of these poems was probably as effective as print, since even now over 4,000 extant manuscript texts attest to an extraordinary rate of production. Survival rates vary in puzzling ways: in spite of the value they must have had even then, the survival rate of poems in Donne’s own hand is extraordinarily low: only one survives, and it was discovered n 1970. Scribal circulation was the central mode of publication for poets like Donne, Thomas Traherne, Andrew Marvell, or Katherine Phillips, most of whose poetry was not printed until after their deaths. less
THE SCRIBAL PUBLICATION OF VERSE: The scribal “publication” of these poems was probably as... more
THE SCRIBAL PUBLICATION OF VERSE: The scribal “publication” of these poems was probably as effective as print, since even now over 4,000 extant manuscript texts attest to an extraordinary rate of production. Survival rates vary in puzzling ways: in spite of the value they must have had even then, the survival rate of poems in Donne’s own hand is extraordinarily low: only one survives, and it was discovered n 1970. Scribal circulation was the central mode of publication for poets like Donne, Thomas Traherne, Andrew Marvell, or Katherine Phillips, most of whose poetry was not printed until after their deaths. less
PAMPHLET WARS: Short, cheap, vernacular, and costing no more than a few pennies, the printed... more
PAMPHLET WARS: Short, cheap, vernacular, and costing no more than a few pennies, the printed pamphlet often proved the most effective form for quick interventions in controversy. With the breakdown of censorship, the production of books and especially pamphlets exploded. The number of titles printed in England in 1641 was 2042, more than three times the number produced in 1639. More books and pamphlets were printed in 1642, during the English Civil War, than in the five-year period prior to 1639. In 1640-1, a bookseller and friend of Milton's named George Thomason began collecting books to document history, and for two decades he amassed 22,000 pamphlets, books, broadsides, and books of poetry. He dated each title with the day of its appearance, providing an invaluable (though not always precise) record of the day-to-day history of print. The entire collection now rests in the British Library, and is accessible online. Some of the titles preserved by Thomason exist in no other collection -- all other records of their existence have been lost. Pamphlets were the dominant mode of publication in the mid-seventeenth century, and most of Milton's own publications are pamphlets. Even though Milton published many pamphlets, and referred to many pamphlets in his printed work, he almost never refers to contemporary pamphlets in his Commonplace Book. Pamphlets have not always been valued; the Oxford librarian Thomas Bodley spoke famously against preserving pamphlets in libraries and university collections such as his own, opining that they were "not worth the custody in such a Library." They were short -- sometimes very short -- quarto books, which meant that the large sheet that was printed was folded twice (to make four parts) -- a folio, such as Shakespeare's Folio featured here, would be folded just once. less
PAMPHLET WARS: Short, cheap, vernacular, and costing no more than a few pennies, the printed... more
PAMPHLET WARS: Short, cheap, vernacular, and costing no more than a few pennies, the printed pamphlet often proved the most effective form for quick interventions in controversy. With the breakdown of censorship, the production of books and especially pamphlets exploded. The number of titles printed in England in 1641 was 2042, more than three times the number produced in 1639. More books and pamphlets were printed in 1642, during the English Civil War, than in the five-year period prior to 1639. In 1640-1, a bookseller and friend of Milton's named George Thomason began collecting books to document history, and for two decades he amassed 22,000 pamphlets, books, broadsides, and books of poetry. He dated each title with the day of its appearance, providing an invaluable (though not always precise) record of the day-to-day history of print. The entire collection now rests in the British Library, and is accessible online. Some of the titles preserved by Thomason exist in no other collection -- all other records of their existence have been lost. Pamphlets were the dominant mode of publication in the mid-seventeenth century, and most of Milton's own publications are pamphlets. Even though Milton published many pamphlets, and referred to many pamphlets in his printed work, he almost never refers to contemporary pamphlets in his Commonplace Book. Pamphlets have not always been valued; the Oxford librarian Thomas Bodley spoke famously against preserving pamphlets in libraries and university collections such as his own, opining that they were "not worth the custody in such a Library." They were short - sometimes very short -- quarto books, which meant that the large sheet that was printed was folded twice (to make four parts) -- a folio, such as Shakespeare's Folio featured here, would be folded just once. less
PAMPHLET WARS: Short, cheap, vernacular, and costing no more than a few pennies, the printed... more
PAMPHLET WARS: Short, cheap, vernacular, and costing no more than a few pennies, the printed pamphlet often proved the most effective form for quick interventions in controversy. With the breakdown of censorship, the production of books and especially pamphlets exploded. The number of titles printed in England in 1641 was 2042, more than three times the number produced in 1639. More books and pamphlets were printed in 1642, during the English Civil War, than in the five-year period prior to 1639. In 1640-1, a bookseller and friend of Milton's named George Thomason began collecting books to document history, and for two decades he amassed 22,000 pamphlets, books, broadsides, and books of poetry. He dated each title with the day of its appearance, providing an invaluable (though not always precise) record of the day-to-day history of print. The entire collection now rests in the British Library, and is accessible online. Some of the titles preserved by Thomason exist in no other collection -- all other records of their existence have been lost. Pamphlets were the dominant mode of publication in the mid-seventeenth century, and most of Milton's own publications are pamphlets. Even though Milton published many pamphlets, and referred to many pamphlets in his printed work, he almost never refers to contemporary pamphlets in his Commonplace Book. Pamphlets have not always been valued; the Oxford librarian Thomas Bodley spoke famously against preserving pamphlets in libraries and university collections such as his own, opining that they were "not worth the custody in such a Library." They were short - sometimes very short -- quarto books, which meant that the large sheet that was printed was folded twice (to make four parts) -- a folio, such as Shakespeare's Folio featured here, would be folded just once. less
PAMPHLET WARS: Short, cheap, vernacular, and costing no more than a few pennies, the printed... more
PAMPHLET WARS: Short, cheap, vernacular, and costing no more than a few pennies, the printed pamphlet often proved the most effective form for quick interventions in controversy. With the breakdown of censorship, the production of books and especially pamphlets exploded. The number of titles printed in England in 1641 was 2042, more than three times the number produced in 1639. More books and pamphlets were printed in 1642, during the English Civil War, than in the five-year period prior to 1639. In 1640-1, a bookseller and friend of Milton's named George Thomason began collecting books to document history, and for two decades he amassed 22,000 pamphlets, books, broadsides, and books of poetry. He dated each title with the day of its appearance, providing an invaluable (though not always precise) record of the day-to-day history of print. The entire collection now rests in the British Library, and is accessible online. Some of the titles preserved by Thomason exist in no other collection -- all other records of their existence have been lost. Pamphlets were the dominant mode of publication in the mid-seventeenth century, and most of Milton's own publications are pamphlets. Even though Milton published many pamphlets, and referred to many pamphlets in his printed work, he almost never refers to contemporary pamphlets in his Commonplace Book. Pamphlets have not always been valued; the Oxford librarian Thomas Bodley spoke famously against preserving pamphlets in libraries and university collections such as his own, opining that they were "not worth the custody in such a Library." They were short - sometimes very short -- quarto books, which meant that the large sheet that was printed was folded twice (to make four parts) -- a folio, such as Shakespeare's Folio featured here, would be folded just once. less
PAMPHLET WARS: Short, cheap, vernacular, and costing no more than a few pennies, the printed... more
PAMPHLET WARS: Short, cheap, vernacular, and costing no more than a few pennies, the printed pamphlet often proved the most effective form for quick interventions in controversy. With the breakdown of censorship, the production of books and especially pamphlets exploded. The number of titles printed in England in 1641 was 2042, more than three times the number produced in 1639. More books and pamphlets were printed in 1642, during the English Civil War, than in the five-year period prior to 1639. In 1640-1, a bookseller and friend of Milton's named George Thomason began collecting books to document history, and for two decades he amassed 22,000 pamphlets, books, broadsides, and books of poetry. He dated each title with the day of its appearance, providing an invaluable (though not always precise) record of the day-to-day history of print. The entire collection now rests in the British Library, and is accessible online. Some of the titles preserved by Thomason exist in no other collection -- all other records of their existence have been lost. Pamphlets were the dominant mode of publication in the mid-seventeenth century, and most of Milton's own publications are pamphlets. Even though Milton published many pamphlets, and referred to many pamphlets in his printed work, he almost never refers to contemporary pamphlets in his Commonplace Book. Pamphlets have not always been valued; the Oxford librarian Thomas Bodley spoke famously against preserving pamphlets in libraries and university collections such as his own, opining that they were "not worth the custody in such a Library." They were short - sometimes very short -- quarto books, which meant that the large sheet that was printed was folded twice (to make four parts) -- a folio, such as Shakespeare's Folio featured here, would be folded just once. less
THE DIVORCE TRACTS: During the civil war period Milton wrote over twenty pamphlets in defense of... more
THE DIVORCE TRACTS: During the civil war period Milton wrote over twenty pamphlets in defense of "three varieties of liberty," as he put it in 1654: "ecclesiastical liberty, domestic or personal liberty, and civil liberty." The five pamphlets on "domestic liberty" -- his so-called divorce tracts -- boldly argued for the liberty to choose a spouse and to choose again if that choice proved in error. His views were called "licentious, new and dangerous," and he was the subject of a Parliamentary inquiry. Contemporaries wanted the books suppressed, which may have contributed to his commitment to the freedom of the press. less
THE DIVORCE TRACTS: During the civil war period Milton wrote over twenty pamphlets in defense of... more
THE DIVORCE TRACTS: During the civil war period Milton wrote over twenty pamphlets in defense of "three varieties of liberty," as he put it in 1654: "ecclesiastical liberty, domestic or personal liberty, and civil liberty." The five pamphlets on "domestic liberty" -- his so-called divorce tracts -- boldly argued for the liberty to choose a spouse and to choose again if that choice proved in error. His views were called "licentious, new and dangerous," and he was the subject of a Parliamentary inquiry. Contemporaries wanted the books suppressed, which may have contributed to his commitment to the freedom of the press. less
THE DIVORCE TRACTS: During the civil war period Milton wrote over twenty pamphlets in defense of... more
THE DIVORCE TRACTS: During the civil war period Milton wrote over twenty pamphlets in defense of "three varieties of liberty," as he put it in 1654: "ecclesiastical liberty, domestic or personal liberty, and civil liberty." The five pamphlets on "domestic liberty" -- his so-called divorce tracts -- boldly argued for the liberty to choose a spouse and to choose again if that choice proved in error. His views were called "licentious, new and dangerous," and he was the subject of a Parliamentary inquiry. Contemporaries wanted the books suppressed, which may have contributed to his commitment to the freedom of the press. less
THE DIVORCE TRACTS: During the civil war period Milton wrote over twenty pamphlets in defense of... more
THE DIVORCE TRACTS: During the civil war period Milton wrote over twenty pamphlets in defense of "three varieties of liberty," as he put it in 1654: "ecclesiastical liberty, domestic or personal liberty, and civil liberty." The five pamphlets on "domestic liberty" -- his so-called divorce tracts -- boldly argued for the liberty to choose a spouse and to choose again if that choice proved in error. His views were called "licentious, new and dangerous," and he was the subject of a Parliamentary inquiry. Contemporaries wanted the books suppressed, which may have contributed to his commitment to the freedom of the press. less
REVOLUTION AND THE FREEDOM OF PRESS: Early in the parliamentary wars against King Charles I, major... more
REVOLUTION AND THE FREEDOM OF PRESS: Early in the parliamentary wars against King Charles I, major factions began to emerge among member of the opposition. Parliament was increasingly dominated by extremists who advocated intolerance – sometimes even extreme intolerance – against dissenting opinion and religious beliefs. These strict Presbyterian puritans opposed many of the positions that Milton either held already or would come to hold in the course of the 1640s – among these the freedom to divorce, theological free will, and anti-trinitarianism. In 1643, Parliament passed an “Ordinance for the Regulating of Printing,” which Milton interpreted in Areopagitica as designed to suppress belief. In 1648 the extremism had taken an even more severe form, when Parliament passed an “Ordinance for the Punishing of Blasphemies and Heresies,” and it became illegal to print certain “heresies” – such as those that Milton upheld. less
REVOLUTION AND THE FREEDOM OF THE PRESS: Early in the parliamentary wars against King Charles I,... more
REVOLUTION AND THE FREEDOM OF THE PRESS: Early in the parliamentary wars against King Charles I, major factions began to emerge among member of the opposition. Parliament was increasingly dominated by extremists who advocated intolerance – sometimes even extreme intolerance – against dissenting opinion and religious beliefs. These strict Presbyterian puritans opposed many of the positions that Milton either held already or would come to hold in the course of the 1640s – among these the freedom to divorce, theological free will, and anti-trinitarianism. In 1643, Parliament passed an “Ordinance for the Regulating of Printing,” which Milton interpreted in Areopagitica as designed to suppress belief. In 1648 the extremism had taken an even more severe form, when Parliament passed an “Ordinance for the Punishing of Blasphemies and Heresies,” and it became illegal to print certain “heresies” – such as those that Milton upheld. less
THE EXECUTION OF CHARLES I: Milton states in The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates, in words that... more
THE EXECUTION OF CHARLES I: Milton states in The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates, in words that sound almost Jeffersonian: “all men naturally were born free,” “born to command and not to obey.” These are part of a strenuous and profound defense of popular sovereignty, the right of a private person to overthrow both parliament (or magistrate) and king. After a protracted stalemate, English political history experienced a sudden succession of upheavals: the forceful exclusion of the army of the majority of Parliament, called “Pride’s Purge” of Parliament in December 6, 1648; the decision by the new “Rump” Parliament to put the king on trial on January 6; and the trial and execution of King Charles I on January 30, 1649. During the trial, January 26-30, Milton began an extraordinary defense of the overthrow of both parliament and king, The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates, a work published shortly after the king’s death. Milton was then hired by the new government to be their spokesperson and counter-propagandist, and also to be a secretary of foreign languages, which meant communicating in Latin and in other languages to foreign diplomats and politicians. less
THE EXECUTION OF CHARLES I: Milton states in The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates, in words that... more
THE EXECUTION OF CHARLES I: Milton states in The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates, in words that sound almost Jeffersonian: “all men naturally were born free,” “born to command and not to obey.” These are part of a strenuous and profound defense of popular sovereignty, the right of a private person to overthrow both parliament (or magistrate) and king. After a protracted stalemate, English political history experienced a sudden succession of upheavals: the forceful exclusion of the army of the majority of Parliament, called “Pride’s Purge” of Parliament in December 6, 1648; the decision by the new “Rump” Parliament to put the king on trial on January 6; and the trial and execution of King Charles I on January 30, 1649. During the trial, January 26-30, Milton began an extraordinary defense of the overthrow of both parliament and king, The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates, a work published shortly after the king’s death. Milton was then hired by the new government to be their spokesperson and counter-propagandist, and also to be a secretary of foreign languages, which meant communicating in Latin and in other languages to foreign diplomats and politicians. less
THE EXECUTION OF CHARLES I: Milton states in The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates, in words that... more
THE EXECUTION OF CHARLES I: Milton states in The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates, in words that sound almost Jeffersonian: “all men naturally were born free,” “born to command and not to obey.” These are part of a strenuous and profound defense of popular sovereignty, the right of a private person to overthrow both parliament (or magistrate) and king. After a protracted stalemate, English political history experienced a sudden succession of upheavals: the forceful exclusion of the army of the majority of Parliament, called “Pride’s Purge” of Parliament in December 6, 1648; the decision by the new “Rump” Parliament to put the king on trial on January 6; and the trial and execution of King Charles I on January 30, 1649. During the trial, January 26-30, Milton began an extraordinary defense of the overthrow of both parliament and king, The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates, a work published shortly after the king’s death. Milton was then hired by the new government to be their spokesperson and counter-propagandist, and also to be a secretary of foreign languages, which meant communicating in Latin and in other languages to foreign diplomats and politicians. less
THE EXECUTION OF CHARLES I: Milton states in The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates, in words that... more
THE EXECUTION OF CHARLES I: Milton states in The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates, in words that sound almost Jeffersonian: “all men naturally were born free,” “born to command and not to obey.” These are part of a strenuous and profound defense of popular sovereignty, the right of a private person to overthrow both parliament (or magistrate) and king. After a protracted stalemate, English political history experienced a sudden succession of upheavals: the forceful exclusion of the army of the majority of Parliament, called “Pride’s Purge” of Parliament in December 6, 1648; the decision by the new “Rump” Parliament to put the king on trial on January 6; and the trial and execution of King Charles I on January 30, 1649. During the trial, January 26-30, Milton began an extraordinary defense of the overthrow of both parliament and king, The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates, a work published shortly after the king’s death. Milton was then hired by the new government to be their spokesperson and counter-propagandist, and also to be a secretary of foreign languages, which meant communicating in Latin and in other languages to foreign diplomats and politicians. less
THE EXECUTION OF CHARLES I: Milton states in The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates, in words that... more
THE EXECUTION OF CHARLES I: Milton states in The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates, in words that sound almost Jeffersonian: “all men naturally were born free,” “born to command and not to obey.” These are part of a strenuous and profound defense of popular sovereignty, the right of a private person to overthrow both parliament (or magistrate) and king. After a protracted stalemate, English political history experienced a sudden succession of upheavals: the forceful exclusion of the army of the majority of Parliament, called “Pride’s Purge” of Parliament in December 6, 1648; the decision by the new “Rump” Parliament to put the king on trial on January 6; and the trial and execution of King Charles I on January 30, 1649. During the trial, January 26-30, Milton began an extraordinary defense of the overthrow of both parliament and king, The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates, a work published shortly after the king’s death. Milton was then hired by the new government to be their spokesperson and counter-propagandist, and also to be a secretary of foreign languages, which meant communicating in Latin and in other languages to foreign diplomats and politicians. less
MILTON AND SONS, A FAMILY BUSINESS: In 1652, after a couple of years of waning eyesight, Milton went... more
MILTON AND SONS, A FAMILY BUSINESS: In 1652, after a couple of years of waning eyesight, Milton went completely blind. From about 1650 onward, Milton began to rely extensively on a team of researchers, scribes, and amanuenses. Rutgers English Professor Ann Baynes Coiro has used the term “Milton and sons” to describe Milton’s close relationship with two of these young men, Edward and John Phillips, nephews of Milton who attended Milton’s small academy in the early 1640s, and who were adopted into Milton’s household. These young men went on to have publishing careers of their own, but it still remains unclear how much they helped Milton in researching and even co-writing some of the work of the period, particularly Milton’s second Latin defense of the English people, shown here, and a defense of himself. less
MILTON AND SONS, A FAMILY BUSINESS: In 1652, after a couple of years of waning eyesight, Milton went... more
MILTON AND SONS, A FAMILY BUSINESS: In 1652, after a couple of years of waning eyesight, Milton went completely blind. From about 1650 onward, Milton began to rely extensively on a team of researchers, scribes, and amanuenses. Rutgers English Professor Ann Baynes Coiro has used the term “Milton and sons” to describe Milton’s close relationship with two of these young men, Edward and John Phillips, nephews of Milton who attended Milton’s small academy in the early 1640s, and who were adopted into Milton’s household. These young men went on to have publishing careers of their own, but it still remains unclear how much they helped Milton in researching and even co-writing some of the work of the period, particularly Milton’s second Latin defense of the English people, shown here, and a defense of himself. less
MILTON AND SONS, A FAMILY BUSINESS: In 1652, after a couple of years of waning eyesight, Milton went... more
MILTON AND SONS, A FAMILY BUSINESS: In 1652, after a couple of years of waning eyesight, Milton went completely blind. From about 1650 onward, Milton began to rely extensively on a team of researchers, scribes, and amanuenses. Rutgers English Professor Ann Baynes Coiro has used the term “Milton and sons” to describe Milton’s close relationship with two of these young men, Edward and John Phillips, nephews of Milton who attended Milton’s small academy in the early 1640s, and who were adopted into Milton’s household. These young men went on to have publishing careers of their own, but it still remains unclear how much they helped Milton in researching and even co-writing some of the work of the period, particularly Milton’s second Latin defense of the English people, shown here, and a defense of himself. less
MILTON AND SONS, A FAMILY BUSINESS: In 1652, after a couple of years of waning eyesight, Milton went... more
MILTON AND SONS, A FAMILY BUSINESS: In 1652, after a couple of years of waning eyesight, Milton went completely blind. From about 1650 onward, Milton began to rely extensively on a team of researchers, scribes, and amanuenses. Rutgers English Professor Ann Baynes Coiro has used the term “Milton and sons” to describe Milton’s close relationship with two of these young men, Edward and John Phillips, nephews of Milton who attended Milton’s small academy in the early 1640s, and who were adopted into Milton’s household. These young men went on to have publishing careers of their own, but it still remains unclear how much they helped Milton in researching and even co-writing some of the work of the period, particularly Milton’s second Latin defense of the English people, shown here, and a defense of himself. less
THE RESTORATION -- CENSORSHIP AND PARADISE LOST: Paradise Lost (1667) was Milton’s first venture... more
THE RESTORATION -- CENSORSHIP AND PARADISE LOST: Paradise Lost (1667) was Milton’s first venture into print after the Royal Proclamation, his arrest, and the public burning of his works in 1660. In order to reenter the public world of print, Milton returned to a family business that had published several political tracts – including Eikonoklastes, one of the banned books. Still, as one early biographer relates, censorship threatened to suppress publication: “we had like to be eternally depriv’d of this Treasure by the Ignorance or Malace of the Licenser, who, among other frivolous Exceptions, would needs suppress the whole Poem for imaginary Treason in the following lines: As when the Sun new ris’n / Looks through the Horizontal misty Air / Shorn of his Beams, or from behind the Moon / In dim Eclips disastrous twilight sheds / On half the Nations, and with fear of change / Perplexes Monarchs.” (Paradise Lost, I, 594-9) We do not know what other “Exceptions” were taken or allowed, but Milton’s manuscripts continued to be challenged by licenser. less
THE RESTORATION -- CENSORSHIP AND PARADISE LOST: Paradise Lost (1667) was Milton’s first venture... more
THE RESTORATION -- CENSORSHIP AND PARADISE LOST: Paradise Lost (1667) was Milton’s first venture into print after the Royal Proclamation, his arrest, and the public burning of his works in 1660. In order to reenter the public world of print, Milton returned to a family business that had published several political tracts – including Eikonoklastes, one of the banned books. Still, as one early biographer relates, censorship threatened to suppress publication: “we had like to be eternally depriv’d of this Treasure by the Ignorance or Malace of the Licenser, who, among other frivolous Exceptions, would needs suppress the whole Poem for imaginary Treason in the following lines: As when the Sun new ris’n / Looks through the Horizontal misty Air / Shorn of his Beams, or from behind the Moon / In dim Eclips disastrous twilight sheds / On half the Nations, and with fear of change / Perplexes Monarchs.” (Paradise Lost, I, 594-9) We do not know what other “Exceptions” were taken or allowed, but Milton’s manuscripts continued to be challenged by licenser. less
THE RESTORATION -- CENSORSHIP AND PARADISE LOST: Paradise Lost (1667) was Milton’s first venture... more
THE RESTORATION -- CENSORSHIP AND PARADISE LOST: Paradise Lost (1667) was Milton’s first venture into print after the Royal Proclamation, his arrest, and the public burning of his works in 1660. In order to reenter the public world of print, Milton returned to a family business that had published several political tracts – including Eikonoklastes, one of the banned books. Still, as one early biographer relates, censorship threatened to suppress publication: “we had like to be eternally depriv’d of this Treasure by the Ignorance or Malace of the Licenser, who, among other frivolous Exceptions, would needs suppress the whole Poem for imaginary Treason in the following lines: As when the Sun new ris’n / Looks through the Horizontal misty Air / Shorn of his Beams, or from behind the Moon / In dim Eclips disastrous twilight sheds / On half the Nations, and with fear of change / Perplexes Monarchs.” (Paradise Lost, I, 594-9) We do not know what other “Exceptions” were taken or allowed, but Milton’s manuscripts continued to be challenged by licenser. less
THE RESTORATION -- CENSORSHIP AND PARADISE LOST: Paradise Lost (1667) was Milton’s first venture... more
THE RESTORATION -- CENSORSHIP AND PARADISE LOST: Paradise Lost (1667) was Milton’s first venture into print after the Royal Proclamation, his arrest, and the public burning of his works in 1660. In order to reenter the public world of print, Milton returned to a family business that had published several political tracts – including Eikonoklastes, one of the banned books. Still, as one early biographer relates, censorship threatened to suppress publication: “we had like to be eternally depriv’d of this Treasure by the Ignorance or Malace of the Licenser, who, among other frivolous Exceptions, would needs suppress the whole Poem for imaginary Treason in the following lines: As when the Sun new ris’n / Looks through the Horizontal misty Air / Shorn of his Beams, or from behind the Moon / In dim Eclips disastrous twilight sheds / On half the Nations, and with fear of change / Perplexes Monarchs.” (Paradise Lost, I, 594-9) We do not know what other “Exceptions” were taken or allowed, but Milton’s manuscripts continued to be challenged by licenser. less
THE CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE: "My Best and Richest Possession"
THE CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE: "My Best and Richest Possession" less
CENSORSHIP AND MILTON'S LATE WORK: After the appearance of Paradise Lost in 1667, a frenzy of... more
CENSORSHIP AND MILTON'S LATE WORK: After the appearance of Paradise Lost in 1667, a frenzy of publication ensued until Milton’s death in 1674. Among the many works Milton published are: The History of Britain, which was started in the late 1640s; a sequel to Paradise Lost (Paradise Regained); to which was bound a biblical drama, Samson Agonistes; his collected poems, and several other pamphlets and books. His published work continued to attract the eye of the censor. less
CENSORSHIP AND MILTON'S LATE WORK: After the appearance of Paradise Lost in 1667, a frenzy of... more
CENSORSHIP AND MILTON'S LATE WORK: After the appearance of Paradise Lost in 1667, a frenzy of publication ensued until Milton’s death in 1674. Among the many works Milton published are: The History of Britain, which was started in the late 1640s; a sequel to Paradise Lost (Paradise Regained); to which was bound a biblical drama, Samson Agonistes; his collected poems, and several other pamphlets and books. His published work continued to attract the eye of the censor. less
CENSORSHIP AND MILTON'S LATE WORK: After the appearance of Paradise Lost in 1667, a frenzy of... more
CENSORSHIP AND MILTON'S LATE WORK: After the appearance of Paradise Lost in 1667, a frenzy of publication ensued until Milton’s death in 1674. Among the many works Milton published are: The History of Britain, which was started in the late 1640s; a sequel to Paradise Lost (Paradise Regained); to which was bound a biblical drama, Samson Agonistes; his collected poems, and several other pamphlets and books. His published work continued to attract the eye of the censor. less
CENSORSHIP AND MILTON'S LATE WORK: After the appearance of Paradise Lost in 1667, a frenzy of... more
CENSORSHIP AND MILTON'S LATE WORK: After the appearance of Paradise Lost in 1667, a frenzy of publication ensued until Milton’s death in 1674. Among the many works Milton published are: The History of Britain, which was started in the late 1640s; a sequel to Paradise Lost (Paradise Regained); to which was bound a biblical drama, Samson Agonistes; his collected poems, and several other pamphlets and books. His published work continued to attract the eye of the censor. less
J. MILTON FRENCH, A TRIBUTE: Rutgers University Libraries’ Milton collection originated in the... more
J. MILTON FRENCH, A TRIBUTE: Rutgers University Libraries’ Milton collection originated in the foresight of Joseph Milton French (1895-1962), internationally acclaimed Milton scholar and professor of English at Rutgers from 1940 to 1960. Soon after his arrival at Rutgers, French advised university librarian George A. Osborn in the acquisition of the 1649 Eikonoklastes, the divorce tracts, and several other works on display in this exhibition. J. Milton French’s five-volume The Life Records of John Milton was published by the Rutgers University Press between 1949 and 1958. He served on the editorial board of Yale University Press’ The Complete Prose Works of John Milton and was named Honored Scholar of the Year by the Milton Society of America in 1956. less
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