John Milton wrote poetry of such sublime beauty that he managed, through its universal influence, to transform the character of the English language.
From his astonishing epic "Paradise Lost," with its magnificent blank verse and mesmerizing characters, to the tragic brilliance of "Samson Agonistes," Milton engaged the political and religious issues of his troubled times with subtlety and sophistication. His moving elegy Lycidas, written after the untimely drowning death of a friend, has been hailed as the greatest lyric poem in English. The classic shorter works, from the pastoral poems L Allegro and Il Penseroso to the enchanting masque Comus, to the intensely personal sonnets, share the grandeur and vitality of his epics; all serve as continual reminders of the heights the human imagination can achieve. With an introduction by Gordon Campbell.
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About the Author
John Milton, English scholar and classical poet, is one of the major figures of Western literature. He was born in 1608 into a prosperous London family. By the age of 17, he was proficient in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. Milton attended Cambridge University, earning a B.A. and an M.A. before secluding himself for five years to read, write and study on his own. It is believed that Milton read evertything that had been published in Latin, Greek, and English. He was considered one of the most educated men of his time. Milton also had a reputation as a radical. After his own wife left him early in their marriage, Milton published an unpopular treatise supporting divorce in the case of incompatibility. Milton was also a vocal supporter of Oliver Cromwell and worked for him. Milton's first work, Lycidas, an elegy on the death of a classmate, was published in 1632, and he had numerous works published in the ensuing years, including Pastoral and Areopagitica. His Christian epic poem, Paradise Lost, which traced humanity's fall from divine grace, appeared in 1667, assuring his place as one of the finest non-dramatic poet of the Renaissance Age. Milton went blind at the age of 43 from the incredible strain he placed on his eyes. Amazingly, Paradise Lost and his other major works, Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes, were composed after the lost of his sight. These major works were painstakingly and slowly dictated to secretaries. John Milton died in 1674.
Gordon Campbell lives with his wife, United States District Judge Tena Campbell, in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he practices law with the firm of Parsons Behle & Latimer. He is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates and a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
Gordon Campbell is Professor of Renaissance Studies at the University of Leicester
“The theme that unites Milton’s greatest poems is temptation. In Comus and the epics temptation is central to the plot . . . His fondness for this theme is related to the moral and intellectual integrity that is such a prominent feature of Milton’s own character, and that shapes the character of his poems.” —from the Introduction by Gordon Campbell