Cover image for The life of John Milton : a critical biography
The life of John Milton : a critical biography
Lewalski, Barbara Kiefer, 1931-
Publication Information:
Oxford ; Malden, MA : Blackwell Publishers, [2000]

Physical Description:
xvii, 777 pages, 15 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm.
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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PR3581 .L45 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Providing a close examination of Milton's wide-ranging prose andpoetry at each stage of his life, Barbara Lewalski reveals a ratherdifferent Milton from that in earlier accounts.

Provides a close analysis of each of Milton's prose and poetryworks.
Reveals how Milton was the first writer to self consciouslyconstruct himself as an 'author'.
Focuses on the development of Milton's ideas and his art.

Author Notes

Barbara Josephine Kiefer Lewalski was born in Topeka, Kansas on February 22, 1931. She received a bachelor of science degree in education and a master's degree from Kansas State Teachers College and a doctorate from the University of Chicago. She began her academic career as an instructor at Wellesley College and went on to become the first woman to be granted tenured and endowed professorships in the English departments of Brown University and Harvard University.

She was a Renaissance scholar and expert on the poet John Milton. She wrote numerous books including Milton's Brief Epic: The Genre, Meaning, and Art of Paradise Regained; Paradise Lost and the Rhetoric of Literary Forms; Writing Women in Jacobean England; and The Life of John Milton: A Critical Biography. Protestant Poetics and the Seventeenth-Century Religious Lyric won the Modern Language Association's James Russell Lowell Prize in 1979. She received a lifetime achievement award from the Renaissance Society of America in 2016. She died of a heart attack on March 2, 2018 at the age of 87.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Accompanied by 18 plates, this is the most comprehensive and magisterial biography of Milton since William Riley Parker's two-volume Milton (CH, Mar'69). Lewalski (Harvard) significantly updates understanding of Milton by assimilating information and insights derived from biographical, bibliographical, scholarly, and critical studies of the last three decades. The number, richness, and complexity of these studies require a more subtle and nuanced account of Milton's life and multiple careers (chiefly political, polemical, and literary), an account Lewalski brilliantly provides. The author is often on certain ground because of documentary evidence, but when she does venture into probability and inference she remains measured, reasonable, and insightful. Writing in a lucid and readable style, she develops a portrait of a major 17th-century author and thinker that integrates activities and writings with the culture of the English Revolution and its aftermath. In this biography Milton is cogently presented as a seminal thinker in theology, politics, religious history, and literary genres, one whose influence and impact extend beyond the epoch in which he lived and will be felt forever. Copious notes, extensive bibliographies of primary and secondary resources, and an extraordinarily detailed and useful index. Absolutely essential for all academic collections. A. C. Labriola Duquesne University

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
1 'The childhood shews the man"" (1608-1625)
2 ""To Cambridge ... for seven years"" (1625-1632)
3 ""Studious Retirement"": Hammersmith and Horton (1632-1638)
4 ""I became desirous . . . of seeing foreign parts, especially Italy"" (1638-1639)
5 ""All mouths were opened against . . . the bishops"" (1639-1642)
6 ""Domestic or Personal Liberty"" (1642-1645)
7 ""Service . . . Between Private Walls"" (1645-1649)
8 ""The so-called Council of State . . . desi