John Milton

1608 - 1674

God's Poet

  • Regarded as one of the greatest poets of the English language
  • wrote few poems
  • most poems written in Latin
  • Reputation established on epic masterpiece "Paradise Lost"

Paradise Lost

  • retelling of the Biblical story of the creation, fall and redemption of humanity
  • Two epics - Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained

The Epic

  • Begins in medeas res
  • dedicated to "justifying the ways of God to man"
  • Man has the ability to reason between right and wrong and the free will to choose
  • Predestination: God knows everything but his foreknowledge does not mean that people's choices are determined in advance

Milton's Influence

  • Paradise Lost has become as well known as the biblical version
  • William Blake
  • John Keats
  • George Eliot
  • by 19th Century Paradise Lost was considered an essential part of every respectable education