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Poetry and Politics in the English RenaissanceRevised Edition$
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David Norbrook

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199247189

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199247189.001.0001

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The Politics of Milton's Early Poetry

The Politics of Milton's Early Poetry

(p.224) 10. The Politics of Milton's Early Poetry
Poetry and Politics in the English Renaissance

David Norbrook

Oxford University Press

For the young John Milton, time was full of promise. In his more confident moments he believed that he was going to be a major poet. However, for a long time he was uncertain whether he should combine this vocation with the priesthood. Milton's sense of his own ‘unripeness’ was to persist through the 1630s. However, he had an underlying conviction that when his major work did appear it would be a great one. In his political pamphlets of the 1640s Milton viewed the development of English history in terms that mirrored his own self-development. The Visible Church, he argued, had come to be dominated by time-serving prelates while the truly godly had lived in silence and obscurity. What appeared to the apologists for the Church of England to have been its steady growth in prosperity had in fact been a process of stagnation.

Keywords:   John Milton, poet, priesthood, political pamphlets, English history, Visible Church, Church of England

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