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Milton's Leveller God

Author: David Williams
Publisher: Montreal ; Kingston ; London ; Chicago : McGill-Queen's University Press, [2017] ©2017
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
"John Milton's epic poems are beginning to lose their relevance in a post-Christian world. Critics regularly ask: Isn't Paradise Lost a monument to dead ideas? The aim of this book is to restore Milton's cultural centrality by showing how his God remains the unacknowledged ground of popular democracy, a political form invented by social levellers in the 1640s. While the vast range of Milton's sources in classical  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Criticism, interpretation, etc
History
Additional Physical Format: Williams, David, 1945-
Milton's leveller God.
(CaOONL)20169077845
Named Person: John Milton; John Milton; John Milton; John Milton; John Milton; John Milton; John Milton
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: David Williams
ISBN: 9780773550346 0773550348 9780773550339 077355033X
OCLC Number: 964327598
Description: xviii, 494 pages ; 23 cm
Contents: Introduction --
Part I. A Levelling history.The Levellers and the Council of State: Fateful choices ; Milton and Politicus: deposing Cromwell --
Part II. Paradise lost. “The tyranny of Heaven”: Republican language in Hell ; The great consult”: From Putney to Pandæmonium ; “All power I give thee”: Kingdom of Grace ; "Two of far nobler shape”: naked majesty ; “The winged hierarch”: ironies of degree ; "Behold the excellence”: might and right ; “And thence diffuse his good”: God and matter ; Among unequals what societie?”: the republic of love ; “Here grows the cure of all”: Viral hierarchies ; “to her own inclining left”: Judgment and regeneration ;“Brought down to dwell on even Ground”: fathers and sons ; “So God with man unites”: a Levelling Incarnation --
Part III. Paradise regain’d· “Searching what was writ”: the Foxean reader ; “Also it is written”: the Flesh made Word --
Conclusion.
Responsibility: David Williams.

Abstract:

"John Milton's epic poems are beginning to lose their relevance in a post-Christian world. Critics regularly ask: Isn't Paradise Lost a monument to dead ideas? The aim of this book is to restore Milton's cultural centrality by showing how his God remains the unacknowledged ground of popular democracy, a political form invented by social levellers in the 1640s. While the vast range of Milton's sources in classical republican thought, Christian humanism, and Machiavellian discourse have been well-documented by scholars, we are just beginning to understand how much his republican prose is inflected by his association with Marchamont Nedham's Mercurius Politicus, the weekly newsbook that Milton licensed in 1651-52. And Nedham himself was closely associated with Leveller thought, which he routinely dressed in Roman republican ideas. From thousands of pages of the newsbook and Leveller writings, I identify a deep repertoire of phrasings and ideas that reveal Milton's sympathy for Leveller ideas in his prose from 1644-49, his ambivalent support for both a classical republic and a Leveller democracy in the 1650s, and his active expression of Leveller ideas in his epic poems after the Restoration. Oliver Cromwell, whom the Levellers identified as the Apostate, serves as a distinctive model for Satan in Paradise Lost, while Milton's Heaven evolves from a feudal monarchy to a human world of liberty and equality, even after the Fall. As with his social heresies, Milton's religious heresies remain a carefully couched force for liberalism and sexual equality, since the figure of a material deity unsettles all the old hierarchies of soul/body, man/woman, reason/will, and ruler/ruled."--

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