Edited by William Kerrigan, John Rumrich, and Stephen M. Fallon
The legendary author of Paradise Lost and other poems was also a superb and provocative prose writer. Culled from Modern Library’s definitive The Complete Poetry and Essential Prose of John Milton, this indispensable collection, authoritatively annotated and updated for this new volume, now includes selections from Milton’s Commonplace Book and the complete text of The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates in addition to Milton’s letters, pamphlets, political tracts, and essays. Milton tackles diverse subjects and takes controversial positions, including notorious defenses of divorce and protests against censorship. With expert analysis, a chronology of the author’s life, clean layouts, and a comprehensive index, The Essential Prose of John Milton is an invaluable keepsake—a book bound to be a revelation for all readers of this monumental author.
“Meticulously edited, full of tactful annotations that set the stage for his work and his times, and bringing Milton, as a poet and a thinker, vividly alive before us.”—Robert Hass, former Poet Laureate of the United States
About the Author
John Milton was a seventeenth-century English poet, polemicist, and civil servant in the government of Oliver Cromwell. Among Milton s best-known works are the classic epic Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, considered one of the greatest accomplishments in English blank verse, and Samson Agonistes.
Writing during a period of tremendous religious and political change, Milton s theology and politics were considered radical under King Charles I, found acceptance during the Commonwealth period, and were again out of fashion after the Restoration, when his literary reputation became a subject for debate due to his unrepentant republicanism. T.S. Eliot remarked that Milton s poetry was the hardest to reflect upon without one s own political and theological beliefs intruding.
Educated at Stanford and Columbia, William Kerrigan has taught English literature at the state universities of Virginia, Maryland, and Massachusetts. He is the author and/or editor of eighteen books of literary scholarship and criticism, published by presses such as Harvard, Yale, and Johns Hopkins. Most recently he co-edited four volumes of John Milton's works for the Random House Modern Library. Now retired and living in California, he writes mystery novels, including a series charting the early history of the movie business, starring Wallace Kerrigan (the author's grandfather) and his mistress Pearl Seagrove. He is also the author of the supernatural thriller 'The Ghost Killers of Black Ash Canyon.'
John P. Rumrich is Thaman Professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of "Matter of Glory and Milton Unbound" as well as numerous articles on seventeenth-century literature. He is co-editor of "Milton and Heresy". Gregory Chaplin is Assistant Professor of English at Bridgewater State College. He is the author of several articles on seventeenth-century literature.
Praise for The Complete Poetry and Essential Prose of John Milton
“The editors succeed gloriously, meeting the needs of the whole spectrum, from general readers to advanced students. A modernized text, one sensitive to Milton’s poetic rhythm, illuminates both the author’s meaning and artistry. This is a beautiful edition.”—Marina Favila, James Madison University
“A remarkable combination of scholarly rigor and sensitivity to literary values, expressed in prose of exemplary clarity and extraordinary grace.”—Edward W. Tayler, Columbia University