John Milton is considered the key English author after William Shakespeare. He was born on December 9, 1608, in London and died in London on November 8, 1674.
Milton is mostly known for his epic poem Paradise Lost, primarily recognized as the finest epic poem ever written in the English language. Together with Milton's other works, such as Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes, the poem contributes to his recognition as one of the greatest English authors of all time. Milton's written compositions advocated for the abolition of the Church of England and the assassination of King Charles I, among other things. For over three decades, from the beginning of the English Civil Wars in 1642 until well after Charles II's reinstatement as king in 1660, he advocated a political philosophy opposed to tyranny in all of his writings state-sanctioned religious beliefs.
Apart from his involvement in the Civil Wars and the Interregnum, he also had an influence on the American and French Revolutions, among other events. In his theological writings, he emphasized the need for religious liberty, the supreme relevance of Scripture as a guide in questions of religion, and religious tolerance for those who disagree with the church's teachings. After 1649, Milton's work as a public servant helped him establish himself as the official voice of the English Commonwealth, managing the country's foreign communications and defending the government against polemical assaults from outside.
Education and Early Life
He kicked his son out of the family home in Oxfordshire because he was reading a Protestant Bible in English. Milton's grandfather, Richard, was a Roman Catholic. Milton's father started a business in London as a scrivener, making documents for legal transactions. He was banished and lost his inheritance. Also, he worked with creditors to get loans for his clients. Anne, John, and Christopher were the three children who lived through their early years with their father, a merchant tailor.
Despite the fact that Christopher went on to become a lawyer, a Royalist, and maybe even a Roman Catholic, he maintained contact with his elder brother. After they reinstated the Stuart monarchy in 1660, Christopher and other people tried to stop his brother from being executed.
John Milton's father, John Milton, was a musician and a composer. He enrolled his son John in St. Paul's School, probably in 1620, and hired tutors to help with his son's formal education. When Milton was younger, he had a private teacher named Thomas Young. Young was a Scottish Presbyterian who e had an effect on his student's political and religious convictions since the two remained in contact over the years. Milton made friends with Charles Diodati, a fellow student at St. Paul's who would become his best friend as he grew up. Milton may have heard sermons delivered by the poet John Donne, who served as dean of St. Paul's Cathedral, which was close to the school where he had attended as a young child. Milton received his Latin and Greek education at this location. He soon learned how to speak other languages, including Italian, which he used to write some sonnets and which he said as well as a native Italian, according to Florentines he met while on a trip in 1638-39.
Milton went to Christ's College in Cambridge, England, in 1625. He was most likely going to be put through ministry training. When William Chappell, one of his teachers, had a disagreement with him a year after that, he was rusticated (temporarily expelled), from the school for a short time. Nathaniel Tovey, a new tutor, took him back after a while. Milton received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Oxford University in 1629. In 1632, he received a Master of Arts degree from the University of Oxford. At first, Milton wanted to be a minister, but he didn't do it. Milton may have had a low opinion of his fellow students who wanted to be ministers but thought they didn't have the academic skills to do well. He may also have despised the hierarchical structure of the established church, as well as its emphasis on uniformity of worship, which led to his rejection by the Church of England as a candidate for the priesthood.
Milton didn't like Cambridge, which may have been because he didn't like studying Scholasticism, which he thought was stifling to the imagination. Milton also wrote to Alexander Gill, a former teacher at St. Paul's School, complaining that he didn't have a lot of friends. The nickname "Lady of Christ's College" came about due to his light complexion, exquisite features, and auburn hair, which earned him the title.
Milton, on the other hand, was a model student in the classroom. At Cambridge, he wrote a lot of academic exercises called "prolusions," which he put on as theatrical performances in the style of a debate. Students used what they learned in logic and rhetoric and other subjects in these exercises. People could read and listen to seven of Milton's ideas, which were written and recited in Latin, in 1674, the year he died.
His family's home in Hammersmith, now on the outskirts of London, was where he lived for seven years after he went to Cambridge for seven years. Horton, in Buckinghamshire, was the family's new home for three years. Milton spent about six years studying in these two places. He mostly read Greek and Latin authors during this time. Milton didn't have a job, so his father cared for him.
Milton embarked on a 15-month journey around Europe, accompanied by a manservant, during which he spent most of his time in Italy, mainly in Rome and Florence. Milton was particularly drawn to the Florentine schools. He formed friendships with young members of the Italian literati who shared his enthusiasm for intellectual pursuits and whom he found pleasing. He was energized by their enthusiasm for him and continued to contact his Italian companions following his return to England, but he never saw them again.
Although Galileo was under virtual house arrest in Florence at the time, Milton was able to meet with him while in the city. This astonishing encounter, in which a young Englishman of approximately 30 years old obtained access to an elderly and blind astronomer, took place under mysterious, unknown circumstances.
Galileo would be the only current figure whom Milton acknowledged explicitly by name in Paradise Lost for the rest of his life. It was while traveling in Italy that Milton learned of Charles Diodati's death in 1638. Diodati was one of Milton's closest friends from St. Paul's School, and it was thought that he had died as a result of the plague. Aside from that, he learned about the oncoming civil war in England, which caused him to return home earlier than he had anticipated as a result of the information.
As soon as he returned to England, Milton established himself in London, not far from the area where he was born, which was then known as Bread Street. His family included the Phillips brothers, John and Edward, who were the sons of his sister, and Anne, whom he trained. Upon his return, he produced an elegy in Latin entitled "Epitaphium Damonis" ("Damon's Epitaph"), in which he remembered Diodati and his sacrifice.
Milton's poetry took a long time to reach the public. 'On Shakespeare', his first published poem, was published anonymously in the Second Folio edition of William Shakespeare's plays in 1632, making it his first published poem altogether and his first published poem in general. It has been proposed that Milton wrote marginal notes in the First Folio of his book and that this copy may be annotated. During the excitement around the potential of forming a new English government, Milton compiled his work in 1645 Poems, published in 1645.
It first appeared in a 1638 collection of elegies, Justa Edouardo King Naufrago, dedicated to the memory of Edward King, a friend of Milton at Cambridge who drowned when his ship sank in the Irish Sea off the coast of Wales in August 1637. The poem is 193 lines in length and is irregularly rhymed. According to the publisher's records, both editions were published in Justa Edouardo King Naufrago unless otherwise specified. Until the publication of Paradise Lost in 1667, the 1645 collection of poetry was the first collection of his poetry to appear in print.
It took Milton from 1658 to 1664 (first edition) to complete his most excellent work, the blank-verse epic poem Paradise Lost, published in 1674 after minor but substantial modifications. Milton was blind and poor at his composition (second edition). He dictated his lyrics to a succession of attendants who worked for him. Several scholars have claimed that the poem represents his sadness at the Revolution's failure while still affirming an ultimate hope in the capacity of human beings. The "Good Old Cause," according to some literary scholars, was encoded in numerous of Milton's allusions to his unwavering support for the "Good Old Cause."
When Paradise Lost was first published on April 27, 1667, it cost £5, with a further £5 due if and when each print run of between 1,300 and 1,500 copies was sold out. Milton died on April 27, 1667, leaving a legacy of literary legacy. Originally published in August 1667, the initial print run of the novel was a quarto edition priced at three shillings per copy, which was completely sold out in eighteen months.
After publishing Paradise Lost, Milton followed it up with the release of its sequel, Paradise Regained, which was published with the play Samson Agonistes in 1671. Both of these works are also reflections of Milton's political situation after the Restoration of the monarchy. When Milton died in 1674, the second edition of Paradise Lost was released, which included an explanation of "why the poem rhymes not" as well as prefatory verses written by Andrew Marvell, which Milton had approved. Among the works published by Milton in 1673 were his 1645 Poems and a compilation of his correspondence, and the Latin prolusions he wrote during his time at Cambridge.
Milton had four children with his first wife, Mary Powell (1625-1652). The names of the children were Anne, Mary, John, and Deborah. Mary Powell died on May 5, 1652, because of difficulties after the delivery of Deborah. While Milton's daughters lived to maturity, their relationship was never entirely harmonious.
Mary Milton and Katherine Woodcock were united in marriage on November 12, 1656, at St Margaret's Church in Westminster, London. She died on February 3, 1658, less than four months after giving birth to her daughter Katherine, who was also murdered in a duel with her husband.
In February 1663, Milton tied the knot for the third time with Elizabeth Minshull or Minshull (1638-1728), the niece of Thomas Minshull, a wealthy pharmacist and philanthropist in Manchester. Milton had two previous marriages. It took place in St Mary Aldermary in London, where the couple was married. Even though they were separated by a 31-year age gap, the marriage seemed to be happy, and it lasted for more than 12 years until Milton's death. (According to the statement on a plaque on the wall of Mynshull's House in Manchester, Elizabeth was Milton's "third and best wife").
Although Mynshull was described as "a domestic friend and attendant," Samuel Johnson believes that he was Milton's "nephew Edward Phillips," who alleges that Mynshull "oppressed his children in his life and defrauded them at his death."
He acted as a teacher for the brothers Edward and John Phillips (sons of Milton's sister Anne), both of whom went on to become writers after getting tuition from Milton. John served as Milton's secretary, while Edward served as the poet's first biographer.
A memorial service was held at St Giles-without-Cripplegate Church in Fore Street, London, on November 8, 1674, to honor Milton's death. However, several sources disagree on whether gout or consumption (Tuberculosis) was the cause of death in this case. "His scholarly and great Friends in London, not without a friendly concourse of the Vulgar," according to an early biographer, and "his learned and great Friends in Paris," according to another biographer, were present at his funeral. A monument carved by John Bacon, the Elder, was erected in 1793 to commemorate the occasion.