John Milton’s Politics, Republicanism and the Terms of Liberty

Cox, Rosanna (2007) John Milton’s Politics, Republicanism and the Terms of Liberty. Literature Compass , 4 (6). pp. 1561-1576. ISSN 1741-4113. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Throughout the tumultuous events of the English Civil War, Commonwealth and Restoration periods, John Milton wrote texts which attempted to shape and activate the nation for their political destiny as free citizens in a nation of true believers. Milton's texts from the early 1640s onwards exhibit the constantly evolving nature of political dissent and the ways in which ‘republican speculations’ in the aftermath of the regicide are provisional, flexible and responsive to the urgent exigencies of defining the new regime and its actions against Charles I and his rule. Recent years have seen those working in intellectual history and the history of ideas re-focus critical attention on Milton's political thought, trace his engagement with republican ideologies and discourses of the period, and explore the complex interactions between contemporary and classical ideas of statecraft. Such work by Quentin Skinner, Martin Dzelzainis and others has established the rich and diverse ideas and discourses which were made available and accessed in the service of both political polemic and apologia. This article will consider how such approaches have influenced our understanding of Milton's texts and ideas, and reflect on what, for Milton and his contemporaries, constituted liberty and the terms on which it could exist. Meditating on forms of government, and the best way to ensure the health and glory of the English nation, Milton's texts exhibit his complex and detailed engagements with classical authorities and neo-Roman conceptions and legal definitions of tyranny, liberty and servitude, alongside notions of civic identity and political subjectivity.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: P Language and Literature
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of English
Depositing User: J.P.W. Joseph
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2008 12:01
Last Modified: 30 Apr 2014 09:22
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