• Sign In / Register
  • Help
  • Basket0
Milton's Words (Hardback)
  • Milton's Words (Hardback)
zoom

Milton's Words (Hardback)

(author)
£32.99
Hardback 222 Pages / Published: 24/09/2009
  • We can order this

Usually despatched within 3 weeks

  • This item has been added to your basket
Milton's Words approaches John Milton in both an old and a new way, focusing on his genius with words: keywords - the keys to a text or a theory; words of sexual avoidance and distress; words of abuse; words of privilege because 'Scripture'; big learned words; and cunning little words, easily overlooked. After a short account of Milton's life as a writer, Patterson guides us through most of the poetry and polemical prose, all too often kept in separate compartments. She shows how new challenges and crises required shifts in vocabulary, as well as changes in Milton's views. What do Milton's words look like when we acknowledge their freight of personal and political history; when we track them from text to text; when we consider not only the big, important, learned words but also the very small ones, such as 'perhaps', which Milton deployed with consummate skill at some crucial moments in both poetry and prose, or the phrase 'he who', which replicates the Latinate 'ille qui', but to which Milton gives a psychological twist; when we consider not only word frequency, but infrequency, uniqueness or near uniqueness, as a signal of Milton's interest in a word; when we tackle these issues in the Latin texts for which there is not, as yet, a concordance; when we consider the possibility that certain words gain or lose value for Milton as he proceeds through his writer's life, and that certain words become keywords to a particular text, as 'book' becomes to Areopagitica; when we reconsider the question of Milton's coinages not from the stern legalistic perspective as to whether he should have made them, but why he needed them? No one person could complete all these tasks, and nobody would wish to read a book that appeared to have completed them. Understanding Milton's words is, and should remain, a work in progress. But close attention to Milton's words is not all that this book offers. It tells a slightly different story about Milton himself than the ones we have been used to. Starting with an abbreviated 'writer's life', it explains the shape of Milton's writing career, the life-long tension between his literary ambitions and the pressure of exhilarating political circumstances. The Milton you will find here walked no straight path from his Cambridge degree to the epic he had been talking of writing when he was still at university, but instead cut his teeth as a writer in an entirely different field, political controversy. The effect on his vocabulary of his campaign to reform his country's church government and its divorce laws was galvanic, not least because he had to reconstitute his own image from that of a shy and bookish person to that of a crusader. He discovered that he enjoyed not only verbal conflict, but also mudslinging, and rude words became part of his arsenal in his very first prose tract. 'Marriage' and 'divorce', on the other hand, became loaded words for Milton for personal reasons, and he developed a new set of verbal resources, which Patterson calls 'words of avoidance', to help him tackle the subject. He never got over the experience of writing the divorce tracts. It was still on his mind when at the end of his life he revised his Latin treatise on theology, De Doctrina Christiana. Then, for about a decade, he was called upon to justify the Long Parliament's execution of Charles I, which forced him to come to terms with the political keywords of his generation, words such as 'king', 'liberty', 'tyranny', and 'the people'. When the republican experiment collapsed on the death of Oliver Cromwell, after one last brave salvo against the restoration of the monarchy Milton retired back into the role of private intellectual and poet.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199573462
Number of pages: 222
Weight: 304 g
Dimensions: 204 x 137 x 20 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
assured, elegant ... It will certainly entertain, inform, and for some, spark debate. * Anna Beer, Notes and Queries *
This is a slim, clearly-written and accessible book, directed towards a general audience... The analysis is both novel and illuminating... The result is a valuable, but slightly peculiar, critical work, written by one of our most distinguished Miltonists. * Forum for Modern Language Studies *
...a lucid, readable journey through Milton's career... * Elizabeth Scott-Baumann, Times Literary Supplement *
...there is much to admire in this snappy new volume * Sophie Read, Times Higher Education *
Just about anyone interested in Milton will delight in this compact but powerful study by Patterson, a well-known scholar long respected for her wide-ranging, authoritative works in social and behavioral sciences as well as literature... A superbly revealing study. Highly recommended * Choice *
It is a very good book: stimulating, informative and enjoyable. * Margaret J.-M. Sonmez, English Studies *

You may also be interested in...

William Wordsworth
Added to basket
Selected Poems of Sylvia Plath
Added to basket
The Poem
Added to basket
£25.00
Hardback
Latest Readings
Added to basket
£9.99
Paperback
Birthday Letters
Added to basket
£12.99
Paperback
Goodbye to All That
Added to basket
The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah
Added to basket
Mr Lear
Added to basket
£25.00
Hardback
Poems for a world gone to sh*t
Added to basket
The Terrible
Added to basket
£9.99
Paperback
The Odyssey
Added to basket
£14.99
Paperback
Ted Hughes
Added to basket
£6.99
Paperback
Robert Burns
Added to basket
£9.99
Hardback
Stranger, Baby
Added to basket
£10.99
Paperback
Six Poets: Hardy to Larkin
Added to basket
£8.99   £6.99
Paperback

Reviews

Please sign in to write a review

Your review has been submitted successfully.