Talk:John Milton

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Early Life Section[edit]

Says he moved to London in the 16th century - before he was born. andylaw31 1:17, 9 June 2009 (BST)

On closer inspection, it is probably referring to his father, but it is not made clear enough. andylaw31 (talk) 1:21, 9 June 2009 (BST)
The 16th century refers to dates between 1500 and 1599 -- just as the 20th century refers to dates between 1900 and 1999. Dates have origin zero. So this passage was not an error. Geo Swan (talk) 17:14, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
The first century CE begins with year 1 and ends with year 100 and so on.--Felix Folio Secundus (talk) 08:48, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
So, we are on to that old entertainment. Logically, if you count a century of numbers in any sensible system, it starts with 1 and ends with 100. But then logic does not count for much against the power of usage. --Martin Wyatt (talk) 18:53, 28 August 2013 (UTC)

Defended Popular government?[edit]

The statement "The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates (1649) defended popular government" is wrong.

Milton was not concerned about "popular" government in the slightest. He was no different from the rest of the English cultural elite when it came to fears about mob rule. In Paradise Regained he imagines Jesus calmly telling Satan

And what the people but a herd confused, A miscellaneous rabble, who extol Things vulgar, and, well weighed, scarce worth the praise? They praise and they admire they know not what, And know not whom, but as one leads the other; And what delight to be by such extolled, To live upon their tongues, and be their talk? Of whom to be dispraised were no small praise-- His lot who dares be singularly good. The intelligent among them and the wise Are few, and glory scarce of few is raised.

Milton was an elitist- at the eve of the Restoration of Monarchy he did not care about what was popular or even 'representative'- he did all he could to stop the return of monarchy. His political ideal was the early Roman Republic.

"popular government" could be changed for "representative government" but the rump parliament has dubious claims to such a title even if Milton felt that particular group of individuals represented what England most needed.

In the Tenure, Milton is defending the right to resist tyranny by all possible means. When the tract does concern itself with systems of government it should be seen within the conciliarist tradition and as a precursor to the Locke's contractual theories of government. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 22:30, 3 March 2007 (UTC).

I wrote the sentence about the Tenure and I agree that Milton's understanding of popular goverment is not at all synonymous with modern democracy (but neither was that of the Founding Fathers). In 1648/1649 Milton was far more optimistic about the potential of the English people at large than in 1660 or 1671, when the texts you cite date from. In the Tenure Milton writes:
that the power of kings and magistrates is nothing else but what is only derivative, transferred, and committed to them in trust from the people to the common good of them all, in whom the power yet remains fundamentally and cannot be taken from them without a violation of their natural birthright
and later: it follows, lastly, since the king or magistrates holds his authority of the people, both originally and naturally for their good in the first place, and not his own, then may the people, as oft as they shall judge it for the best, either choose him or reject him, retain him or depose him, though no tyrant, merely by the liberty and right of freeborn men to be governed as seems to them best.
Support for popular goverment, in the basic sense of "deriving from the people" (however "people" might be defined), seems explicit here. But your concerns with Milton's later elitism are certainly real, and placing the Tenure in the Lockean tradition is also valuable. Perhaps the Tenure deserves its own article?Esquilax8 13:45, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

I agree that Milton was more far optimistic about what could be achieved by the English ‘people’ in the initial years after the regicide than my original comments suggest. However, the Tenure is not the best example of this mood and certainly not the dominant subject of the work. In Tenure, I would argue that Milton is particularly intent on attacking those Presbyterians who once sanctioned active resistance to Charles I but then baulked at regicide. While it is true that Milton engages with origins of political power (as ably demonstrated by your citations) the most prominent discussion is about when and why it is legitimate to resist kings and magistrates: Do you not find it significant that Milton does not refer to any political mechanism by which ‘the people’ can assert the ‘liberty and right of freeborn men?’ Professing the underlying principles of resistance to tyranny by persons/people is not the same as defending a system of government. The fact that the Tenure impressed- as I'm sure you're aware it led to the eikon and defence commissions- the new English Republican government led by Cromwell, a man whose thoughts about the electoral franchise and property qualifications are well recorded (Putney debates etc), does not suggest that Milton's allusions to "the people" and "common good" were troublesome. In fact I would say that it is Milton's vagueness over the question of "the people" and legitimate resistance that was so very appealing to them.

I also agree with you that Milton’s understanding of ‘popular government’ bears little resemblance to modern notions of democracy. This is my point entirely. Surely it is misleading for the general reader to be informed that the Tenure ‘defends popular government?’ And how useful is this expression any way? President Bush’s victory over Gore or Blair’s third term could be considered manifestations of popular governance but obvious qualifications can be produced about mandate etc. Furthermore, the phrase ‘defends…’ implies that the idea of ‘popular government’ was under considerable attack, or even that the regicide was blamed on the defects of such a political system. Most Royalist commentators condemned the regicide as the act of religious zealots and only the levellers were really discussing any thing approaching popular government at the time.

The uncertainty you express as to what Milton meant by “the people” strikes at the most difficult aspect of the Tenure. It seems perverse to imply that Milton believed that the regicide was perpetrated by ‘popular government,’ as Milton well knew, the regicide was forced by a Parliamentary Army who purged the parliament (an elected body of the people) of objectors. We should not forget that Milton was more than aware that a large section of ‘the people’ (including his then wife) were against the regicide. Although Milton unquestionably believed the regicide was for the ‘common good,’ the insinuation that the parliamentary army are defended by Milton because they were the ‘popular government’ is difficult to swallow. I would hazard that Milton envisaged the army as a group of private individuals whose legitimate resistance, as laid out by copious allusions to biblical and historical acts of tyrannicide by individuals, expressed the will of ‘good men.’ In the third sentence of the Tenure, Milton states ‘none can love freedom heartlie, but good men, the rest love not freedom.’ Where does this leave popular governance or the general reader?

Perhaps "advocates popular sovereignity" would be a good compromise?

Given what Milton had in mind for the government of the English people in 1659, it is nonsensical to make him a defender of popular government or popular sovereignity.
It is also unfair and misleading to say "this differs from our view of democracy but so did the founding fathers". Apart from being Americanocentric, the founding fathers with all their flaws and concerns about mob rule (not all without foundation) were still basically in agreement with what we today call representative democracy. Milton was not. Str1977 (talk) 13:13, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
Funny how you can say such a thing, even though the government of the Civil War was from an uprising of the common people. You also show an extreme lack of insight to what Milton actually understood about politics. Ottava Rima (talk) 22:11, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
An uprising of the common people? You obviously don't know much about the English civil war. It was a conflict between King and the majority of a elitist parliament. And have you actually read the "Ready and Easy Way"? You might be surprised! Str1977 (talk) 22:33, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
If by "the majority of a elitist parliament" means "oppressed Calvinists who desired to overthrown the strict Anglican system combined with Anglicans who were afraid that Catholics were taking over the country, representing the vast majority of English Middle and Lower classes", then you are correct. However, I am sure that you don't actually mean this, just as I am sure that you aren't relying on actual studies in Miltonic studies. And one of my most favorite articles to write was on the religious and political relationship between Milton and Hobbes, so I will be prepared to fight on this very topic. Now, lets look at what Keeble has to say about the Readie and Easie Way - "In The Readie and Easie Way (1660), only a month before the Restoration, Milton foresaw a reactionary tyranny of decadent indulgence as its inevitable consequence... with a culture of servile deference to a king who 'must be ador'd like a Demigod'... while he has little to do but 'to pageant himself up and down in progress among the perpetual bowings and cringings of an abject people'" Yeah, that definitely doesn't read as popular, especially with its emphasis on the dangers of people worshipping a sole individual who will tyrannize the people and abuse his power. Oh wait, this is very definition of popular! Ottava Rima (talk) 22:40, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Keeble, N. H. "Milton and Puritanism" in A Companion to Milton. Oxford: Blackwell, 2003. p. 133. Ottava Rima (talk) 22:41, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
Oh yes, I am relying on actual Milton studies though I don't have them at end but I can remember well enough. Oh, yes all these poor oppressed and downtrodden people, e.g. the Earl of Warwick. And yes, Catholics definitely were taking over!
The word tyranny smells bad out of the mouth of a guy like Milton who for years worked for an actual tyrant. And even if one considered the monarchy to be bad, it was what most people wanted at the time but Milton could not accept this.
In any case, your posting indicate that you have vast POV problems and hence cannot see how utterly POV the "politics" section is. Str1977 (talk) 23:03, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
If I may say so, it seems to me that Str1977's interpretation of the English Civil War is not very well-informed. "It was a conflict between King and the majority of a elitist parliament" is hardly accurate, in that it ignores the extent to which the general population felt allegiances to one side or the other, and were prepared to be mobilised in support of their preferred faction. If it had just been a conflict between a King and a parliament, it could have been described as a coup, but the King/parliament antagonism was part of a larger split in English society at the time. A statement like "And even if one considered the monarchy to be bad, it was what most people wanted at the time but Milton could not accept this" is evidence that Str1977 is hardly free of "POV problems". The fact is, there were enough people in England who didn't want the monarchy for there to be a full-blown civil war about it. I imagine that you will argue that anybody who took parliament's side in the Civil War was by default part of an "elite". Lexo (talk) 12:10, 9 December 2008 (UTC)

This would be a moment to recall talk page guidelines. Debating points bad, discussion of what we do to improve the article today good. Charles Matthews (talk) 12:48, 9 December 2008 (UTC)

Paradise Lost and Milton's view[edit]

The existing version states that PL "...reflects his personal despair at the failure of the Revolution, yet affirms an ultimate optimism in human potential". The first statement is controversial, and, I'd say, implies a heavily allegorical reading of the poem, and especially of Books 1 and 2. The second statement is a horrible generalisation, and sounds like the sort of thing you'd right on an junior manager's HR appraisal form. Unless anyone objects. I'll rewrite it in a day or two.Bedesboy 17:18, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

Note about images[edit]

Hello. I added a "reqphoto" tag to this article because I expected full color portraits. OK from my point of view in advance to remove or change this tag. -Susanlesch (talk) 14:29, 23 November 2007 (UTC)


The first section seems to take sides in the debate between those who hold up Milton as the greatest ever poet and those who question his high status. I think it should be more neutral, and that the final sentence of that section in particular seems a little strong. I also believe that claiming a renewed interest in Milton due to Pullman and Brown is a little farfetched.Thecopybook (talk) 15:01, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

Milton and his influence on Mill[edit]

Would it be a valid section to expand the 'influences' section to include the obvious influences which Milton's early defense of free speech had on John Stuart Mill? In his autobiography Mill makes reference to the Areopagitica and one need only briefly look upon the texts to see inherent similarities. With John Stuart Mill being such an important source for modern liberalism that seems a key idea. --Showa58taro (talk) 12:15, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

Dating Conventions[edit]

Two different conventions are used on this page. I strongly recommend that the international convention should be used, particularly as Milton is more closely associated with England than the US. See the Wikipedia style page on dates and number Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates and numbers) Everybody got to be somewhere! (talk) 17:57, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

Latin poetry[edit]

Considering how jaunty is Milton's elegy V (a celebration of free love, written in fine Latin style), I'm thinking of adding this observation to the article:

"It is the opinion of some experts that Milton probably made love to his wife in Latin and only preached to her in English. If however he had been a Catholic, he would probably have made love to her in English and preached to her in Latin."

Anyone second this edit? Lucretius (talk) 06:35, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

New Book[edit]

There is a new book: "John Milton: Life, Work and Thought by Gordon Campbell and Thomas N Corns 512pp, OUP. This is well reviewed by the Daily Telegraph, Review: October 25, 2008, p 22. It analyses how and when Milton was radicalised, suggesting that the tipping point was in 1637. Also suggests he had "close-angle glaucoma" and died suddenly probably from "a massive gastro-intestinal haemorrhage". Campbell wrote the DNB entry. Book may be worth using? Budhen (talk) 16:08, 27 October 2008 (UTC)


I'm puzzled by this sentence and I quote:

The Romantics' simulataneous acceptance of Milton's poetics and rejection of his theological concerns may have encouraged later readers to neglect the theological content of his long poems while admiring his often thunderously musical lines.

Simulataneous I can live with as a curiosity but may have and thunderously musical? I don't think so. This sentence suggests an impressionable critic groping for the right words and not finding them. He may have neglected objectivity while admiring his own thunderously musical something or other but that's mere speculation on my part. I'll delete it if nobody objects. Lucretius (talk) 06:08, 29 October 2008 (UTC) I deleted it anyway whether anyone objects or not. Lucretius (talk) 06:15, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

I've added lots of 'citation needed' tags to the section Legacy and influence. It takes real scholarship to identify a writer's legacy and influence and this section needs CITATIONS in support of the points it makes. Lucretius (talk) 22:58, 9 November 2008 (UTC)


My edits have been blanket reverted under the pretense of them violating WP guidelines. No specific guideline is mentioned and my edits do not violate anything. Especially they did not remove "cited information". If this is to refer to the POV tag, one should keep in mind that merely citing information is not enough to ensure NPOV. Actually I didn't change much content making Ottava's screaming all the more surprising. But I did improve readibility in one instance. Str1977 (talk) 22:38, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

As per this. You add a POV tag in a section with cited information. POV tags are not for that. NPOV only means that something is given weight and must be cited. This is cited. Thus, a POV tag is completely unnecessary and seen as extremely improper. Your changing of a section to a bullited list also violates many MOS standards. The fact template is completely unnecessary as there is no talk page dispute to it making it controversial. Ottava Rima (talk) 22:51, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
the POV tag indicates not that something is uncited but that NPOV is in some way not met. You can cite a whole of sources and emerge with a onesided picture. Here, this is the case: it is not even much that is cited but merely to statements:
  • "Milton's fervent commitment to republicanism in an age of absolute monarchies" - correct
  • "was both unpopular and dangerous." - discount this as poetry to celebrate the hero
  • "In coming centuries, Milton would be claimed as an early apostle of liberalism." - probably true.
But there is so much more that could be said about Milton's politics - positive things but also things that don't seem so "liberal".
Ottava, please go and read the NPOV policy. WP:NPOV not WP:V. Str1977 (talk) 22:57, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
1. If things are missing, the policy is to add, not tag, especially when a page is undergoing revisions. 2. POV tags are always used for uncited material that is controversial. 3. Rely on sources, not your own judgment about what is right or wrong. Ottava Rima (talk) 23:00, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
1. Yes, add. But there is so much to add and the underlying problem is clear: this is two sentences masquerading as a section. If you are really that great a Milton scholar, it should be easy to add stuff. But the things you wrote above are hardly neutral, so don't come up with this.
2. Nonsense. POV tags are used to tag a section or an article that does not fit with the neutral point of view. You could have neutral section without citations (in which case, of course, citations should be added) and you can also have a POV section with citations.
As for last sentence, I for my part reserve the right to use my brain, even if literary ayatollahs like Mr Milton would not approve of that.
Str1977 (talk) 23:15, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
Saying that there is a lot of work needed is no excuse to spam up a page with templates. Its just that simple. And the things I wrote above aren't neutral? Too bad. NPOV says that points of view should be used based on their weight, which means that highly respected scholars deserve to have their say and view, and that people like you with fringe view are basically ignored. It does not mean "no POV". POV is an opinion that is not cited to a credible source and based on weight only. WP:NPOV - have a look. "representing fairly, and as far as possible without bias, all significant views that have been published by reliable sources." Thus, this source, given exactly as its portrayed, cannot be labeled as POV. If you want more sources added, then add them or request them. Don't improperly add templates. And if you want to say that Milton wouldn't allow you to use your brain, then you are soapboxing and your edits should be questioned as being biased and going against NPOV, especially when you attack cited information. Ottava Rima (talk) 23:28, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
I don't know what's simple here but this is not. The section does not give a neutral picture of Milton's politics (which means several views being mentioned) and hence my tagging was proper. Spamming it is certainly not as you are well aware - spamming would be running around placing tags into numerous articles. I am not doing this.
It's not Milton who doesn't allow me. You talk like this. But Milton would certainly agree, preferring to have us commonors ruled by wise man like himself. And if you can't see that I was half-joking, I can't help you. And again, you are using my comments to attack me and discredit my edits - apparently you have nothing substantial to say against my edits. Str1977 (talk) 23:53, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
Milton is dead. Gesh. Templates are unnecessary. Plus, there is a big editing set planned for Miltonic pages in preparation for his birthday, so if you just held your horses the page will change. As I said before, the page is undergoing various revisions. Normally if there is a problem, people just post a note on a talk page asking for help and users come by. It isn't very helpful to just template up a page. Ottava Rima (talk) 23:56, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
If there is something ahead that will change things, I would be happy. Still, that is no reason not to raise the problem and a tag (not a template) is a valid way to do it. It isn't very helpful to try to shout others down as you did in the beginning, with hysterical accusations of vandalism and invented guidelines. Str1977 (talk) 08:37, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

This doesn't seem to be going anywhere. Str1977, if you want to say something like "Milton's views on who should hold power in the Commonwealth were minority opinions", you can do that, based on citation, so that "according to (scholar) Milton's views ...". There were no polls, were there? So the interesting point of where Milton stood on the political spectrum in 1650, or whenever, has to be addressed by citing various authorities, to give a reasonable view of the business. Charles Matthews (talk) 17:42, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

Charles, your edits improved the section greatly. However, there is still no indication that at least in 1659 Milton argued against popular government (see Ready and Easy Way). Since this is a fact going against the impression created by the other facts mentioned. Merely saying he was opposed towards the trend towards Stuart restoration is not enough. Str1977 (talk) 22:13, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
OK, for 1659 we have various things: Richard Cromwell fell, and by the end of the year Milton had been imprisoned. So in between he was advocating for some kind of ruling council, I think? Certainly for some sort of undemocratic institution, and therefore against the popular trend towards the restoration of the monarchy. I'm a bit Miltoned out right now, frankly, but I can certainly fill in more about that as a crux, if that is what you want to see there. Charles Matthews (talk) 22:28, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
Yes, in Ready and Easy Way he argued for the rule of an unelected council that coopted any new members. The section can still be improved on this but your latest edits at least lifted it above the NPOV threshold. Especially it should be clarified what "undemocratic" here means as there have been not unreasonable charges that no English government of the period was democratic. There is a difference between undemocratic via census elections and undemocartic via no elections at all. But thanks for your effort. Str1977 (talk) 23:05, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
I'll work on it. Ch. 14 of Worden that I cite is thirty pages long, and so there will be enough detail if I read it! You are right about "undemocratic", of course: it's just a stopgap term. I believe his council would have been Long Parliament members back again, so they would have been appointed. Thanks for your input. Charles Matthews (talk) 11:05, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
Sure. No need to hurry this.
I don't believe he thought of the Long Parliament (which in the end was restored to his dislike), more like a sort of Rump Parliament (maybe a different selection) with no further elections. But that's mere speculation, since his suggestion was fortunately not implemented. Str1977 (talk) 20:45, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

Milton expansion, rework[edit]

Going along with the sentiment expressed above about getting back to how to fix this page, what we should do is start building up the sections to around 60-70k. Then we need to decide if we have Harvnb references or not. After that, we should probably break down the weight by this: biography (about 1/5), characteristics (marriage, blindness, personality, friends, philosophy including religious and political views etc( (about 1/5), politics involvement (his occupation as a propagandist, his pamphlet writing) (about 1/5) and his poetry (early and late) (about 2/5, so 1/5 for each but more on his big three). Broken into 1/5s, that leaves about 12k per section. We also need to start introducing more images. Ottava Rima (talk) 13:53, 9 December 2008 (UTC)

I forgot about legacy, that would take up whatever was left over, and most likely until 10k. Ottava Rima (talk) 13:54, 9 December 2008 (UTC)
On the images, the attractive Christ's college portrait is easily available on the internet, but only in vertically stretched versions (as is sometimes the case). Can anyone scan it from a book? I replaced the dreadful Victorian drawing in the lead with the NPG portrait. Johnbod (talk) 15:25, 9 December 2008 (UTC)
I'm always against fancy referencing styles. We need referencing styles invented for the Web, not academia. I'm not convinced by the outline. One thing that seems missing is his sources: there must surely be something to say about how his reading fed into his works, even though there is the "standard" line that he was highly original. Given enough articles hanging off this one, it is not so hard to invoke summary style and move material around, but 40% on the poetry seems a little high. We don't seem to have got that far with the politics and its consequences, either. Not much here about Levellers, Ranters or antinomianism, all of which would be useful to define in relation to Milton. I would suggest, also, that we should be quite careful about his reputation. Proper citations of his supposed European reputation in his lifetime would be very valuable. Charles Matthews (talk) 15:52, 9 December 2008 (UTC)
I think that a lot of his reading can be covered in poetry and political sections, especially in discussing the various allusions. Discussing Epic, the fusion of the Bible, Augustinian beliefs, etc would surely appear. Ottava Rima (talk) 16:04, 9 December 2008 (UTC)
Dear me, William Blake nowhere mentioned. Charles Matthews (talk) 15:13, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
And the information about Keats is wretched (more on Keats found on my subpage). I'm going to build up the reception history page, and we can work off of that somewhat. I like how "Victorian" is only Hardy. : ) I would defend that to the death if I could. LOL. Ottava Rima (talk) 15:56, 10 December 2008 (UTC)


I think it would cause there to be too many headings if we gave Romantics their individual place, and by favoring Blake, we deny the equal impact on Wordsworth and Keats, and to a lesser extent on Coleridge and Shelley. I would be comfortable with 4 lines or so devoted to Blake, but no more than a full paragraph for the big three combined. The others could be combined in a paragraph with Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and James Fennimore Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans, which derive their plot structure from Milton. We will also need a note about how the view of Milton changed after the discovery of De Doctrina Christiana, which followed after these works were already published (so, at the beginning of a discussion on the Victorians). Ottava Rima (talk) 16:30, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

Well, that sounds too prescriptive to me, really and truly. All the connections to Romantic poetry deserve at least a summary treatment. So far I'm just troubleshooting what is there. If the section as developed gets out of hand, then we can split out a separate page, and summarize. Blake is certainly worth a heading. Wordsworth needs more, and there is the general point about Milton being the "Bard" in the mind of the Romantics, for which I'm searching for a good reference in M. H. Abrams. Bear in mind, also, that this is really just a first pass through to fact-check the older content in the article, find references and fill some obvoius gaps. Charles Matthews (talk) 16:55, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
The literary influence page would be such a page for such an information. I'm mostly planning ahead for the next step, i.e. building this to FA. I only mentioned that the individuals shouldn't have headings because it would make the table of contents way too large and possibly give preferential treatment. For instance, Milton's and Hobbes's relationship, Milton's and Marvell's, etc, are just as important as Blake's use of Milton. We have to be mindful of weight, because once other people start showing up, they will probably bring such concerns. A good plan is better than no plan. Ottava Rima (talk) 19:29, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
There are ways to massage the ToC, if that is your concern. I think we should have something about Hobbes (there is a little about Marvell already). Just picking up the Cambridge Companion to Milton (1989) and looking in the index, there are six references to Blake, two to Hobbes, six to Marvell. It seems we are doing OK, really. Charles Matthews (talk) 21:46, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
Hmm. Much to ponder. It is mostly an aesthetic ToC concern. I would prefer a sub division having at least three paragraphs in it. We should probably not go further than 70k before pictures and the rest are added. Right now, we have about 20k to work with. That boils down to what, 3000 words or so? We might be able to deal with that. We could combine Wordsworth and Keats together, as Keats is responding to both Milton and Wordsworth (or responding to Milton through Wordsworthian ideas). I don't know. It seems that a lot of people have a lot of things written about them and their connection to Milton. Johnson, for instance. I'll have to think this over more. Ottava Rima (talk) 23:12, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
Milton is obviously worth an FA. My current approach is broad-based: I want to bring up more 17th-century articles to about A standard, and add secondary topics to fill in redlinks. Charles Matthews (talk) 08:16, 11 December 2008 (UTC)
I was dragged into Milton. I know Milton through my studies on Keats and epic as a genre. I want Milton up to FA so I can have a strong basis for putting forth a page on Keats's Hyperion as an epic (there is a lot of information on it, just a complex issue to talk about and would need other Wikilinks to help fill it out). But yeah, Milton deserves an FA and I think we could easily work to achieve such a thing. I will dump information on the talk page when I get a chance, and build the other pages in addition. Ottava Rima (talk) 20:18, 11 December 2008 (UTC)

The Caption for Milton reading to his daughters[edit]

If Milton was reading Paradise Lost to his duaghters, I don't know if this would be right, because John wrote Paradise Lost after he was blind. I do know his daughters read to him after glaucoma took his sight. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Carterky (talkcontribs) 13:40, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

The image shows his blindness. He could be "reading" from memory, or simply reciting. The german title is "Milton diktiert seinen Töchtern das »Paradise Lost«" Ottava Rima (talk) 15:41, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
'Diktiert' means 'dicate,' and considering that the painting shows the daughter holding a manuscript and a pen, and Milton without a book, I think it's safe to say he's dictating the poem just as he is traditionally reported to have done. Who translated 'diktiert' as 'reads'? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:36, 26 April 2009 (UTC)


This is the most poorly constructed sentence in all of Wikipedia:

He is in no sense a representative thinker of his time, across a range of issues where he was his own man: it is, though, one of his less original and more representative positions, in Areopagitica, where he was anticipated by Henry Robinson and others, that has lasted best of his works as engaged intellectual.

I'm going to reword it, if no one objects. (talk) 22:48, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

I concur. Sillyfolkboy (talk) (edits) 04:16, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
I'm biased: my sentence. You do exaggerate. Most sentences can be improved. Charles Matthews (talk) 18:37, 9 May 2009 (UTC)
On the other hand, "I'm biased: my sentence" is imperfectible. Mes homages, mon ami! Funfree (talk) 21:46, 30 May 2014 (UTC)


In Catch-22 John Milton's name is briefly used on signed documents as a phony signature: after Washington Irving's got old. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:25, 12 November 2009 (UTC)

Believed to have been a Calvinist[edit]

Who believes this? Some believe he was a Muggletonian (Harold Bloom in Jesus and Yahweh mentions this theory). Apparently he kept his beliefs close to his chest. I think it safe to say Protestant, but Calvinist needs a cite. Nitpyck (talk) 22:33, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

It's not a useful term in this context, certainly. Charles Matthews (talk) 07:46, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

Information in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography's entry on him also seems to cast doubt on classifying him as a Calvinist. This is backed up by private research which seems to demonstrate his views on free will and grace to be more akin to the Arminian classification. I would therefore think it prudent to change his category classification to English Dissenter from English Congregationalist (the latter being, on the whole, comprised of vaguely Calvinistic churches or of that heritage). Homagetocatalonia (talk)

Exchange of material[edit]

Since the coverage in John Milton is in some way more detailed than that in Early life of John Milton, I'm going to be doing some swaps until the balance seems more reasonable. Charles Matthews (talk) 08:46, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

By contrast, the early 20th century, with the efforts of T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound, witnessed a reduction in Milton's critical stature. Harold Bloom, in The Anxiety of Influence, could still write that "Milton is the central problem in any theory and history of poetic influence in English [...]".[76]

This doesn't make much sense to me. It makes it sound like Harold Bloom was writing at the same time Eliot & Pound were (which made me LOL), & since he wasn't, the quote seems kind of random. Also, "the efforts of T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound" is kind of ambiguous, I think--did they actively try to reduce Milton's stature, or did their poetic efforts simply precipitate a change in thought? The whole "later legacy" section is kind of weird, anyway... esp as it begins & ends with Eliot. Not exactly a linear progression.

I've never edited a wikipedia article, & don't really feel like starting now, but maybe someone else wants to deal with it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:04, 3 July 2010 (UTC)

I can't imagine which "efforts" could have affected "Milton's critical stature", or what might have motivated them. Is it just that reading their works left "critical" children too little free time to get around to Milton? As for Harold Bloom, I agree that some time frame ought to be introduced to separate that statement from the previous one, referring as it does to the early 20th century. I also can't imagine why Eliot and Pound would want to undermine the "stature" of a long-dead fellow poet, especially one whom they both must have appreciated dearly. Funfree (talk) 21:34, 30 May 2014 (UTC)

Milton quote doesn't make sense: "sad tidings of civil war in England"[edit]

...he [Milton] returned to England during the summer of 1639 because of... "sad tidings of civil war in England."

1639 is the First Bishops' War: Covenaters against Royalists in Scotland. The English civil war began only in 1642

Top.Squark (talk) 07:56, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

Isn't it obvious that Milton had no notion of "The English Civil Wars", or that any wars might break out and be called such, after the fact, by historians yet to come? Milton is referring to civil war other than the one or several you are familiar with. You don't doubt, do you, that the First Bishops' War, or whatever tidings Milton had received, merited the characterization of "civil"? Funfree (talk) 21:20, 30 May 2014 (UTC)

Dubious: outbreak of civil war prevented prevented Mary Powell's return[edit]

In June 1643 Milton paid a visit... and returned with a 16-year-old bride, Mary Powell. A month later... Mary returned to her family. Because of the outbreak of the Civil War, she did not return until 1645

However, the English Civil War began in 1642, before the marriage. Maybe the delay did have to do with the civil war, but the current text is at best misleading.

Top.Squark (talk) 10:05, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

Dating style[edit]

Would it be true to say that the Gregorian calendar equivalent of Milton's vital dates are 19 December 1608 and 18 November 1674? -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 00:43, 13 August 2010 (UTC)


Milton's remarks, made about his meeting with Galileo, seem to avoid clearly supporting any one theory, such as geostaticism or heliostaticism. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:56, 11 September 2011 (UTC) Milton's vague term "otherwise" falls short of endorsing Copernicanism. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:19, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

Dating of poems[edit]

I notice that there seems to be dispute over the dating of L'Allegro, Il Penseroso and Lycidas. My edition of Milton's poems (partially facsimile) shows that Edward King died in 1637 and Lycidas was published, along with other poems, in 1638. Is it necessary to assign an unequivocal date? --Martin Wyatt (talk) 20:07, 8 October 2011 (UTC)

C. A. Patrides and The Milton Quarterly[edit]

Another editor started an article on the Milton scholar, C. A. Patrides. We lack resource to the The Milton Quarterly, alas.

Please help by reading the 3 2 page memorials to him in 1987, which are linked in the Patrides article. We especially want a double check on his death from AIDS.

Thanks,  Kiefer.Wolfowitz 19:16, 30 October 2011 (UTC)


An unreferenced statement has been added under the heading of Philosophy. The conjecture it reports is highly improbable, and the whole paragraph could well be removed. But then the Philosophy section, along with much of the article, is not very satisfactory, and needs competent work on it. --Martin Wyatt (talk) 21:22, 9 May 2012 (UTC)

I agree, it could be removed, and so could most or all of the "Views" section since that part is under sourced and not even particularly necessary to a biography article. 01:52, 10 May 2012 (UTC)

Featured Page[edit]

I honestly have no idea what the requirements are or what processes are involved in something becoming a featured page, but I do nonetheless wonder if this one has such potential. Mere Mortal (talk) 20:30, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

I would think that it has potential to become featured. I would suggest that you go for a Good article as a first stage which will pick up any obvious problems with the article. Keith D (talk) 23:25, 7 July 2012 (UTC)


The article neglects to mention a crucial fact, that all English laws in Milton's day were written in Latin, and since he was considered the greatest Latin expert in the land, it was he upon whose expertise the nation relied. He wrote, edited, and interpreted all English law. This ought not to be hard to confirm. Funfree (talk) 21:06, 30 May 2014 (UTC)