17th century English poet, author of Paradise Lost
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  • FreedomPedia
  • John Milton

    John Milton (9 December 1608 - 8 November 1674) was an English poet, polemicist, man of letters and civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under Oliver Cromwell. He wrote at a time of religious flux and political upheaval, and is best known for his epic poem Paradise Lost (1667), written in blank verse.


    Milton, John (1608-1674) | Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, by Antony Flew, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical essay
    "John Milton was one of the iconic figures of English literature. He is most familiar for his epic poem Paradise Lost and, in particular, his depiction of Satan. However, his legacy extends far beyond that one monumental work and indeed beyond poetry: He was a forceful and courageous writer on matters political and theological. In the turmoil preceding the English Civil War, he lent intellectual support to the republican cause and, upon the establishment of the Commonwealth, was employed to write tracts defending Oliver Cromwell's actions, in particular his execution of the king."


    9 Dec 1608, in Cheapside, London


    8 Nov 1674, in London

    Web Sites

    The John Milton Reading Room
    Collaboration between Thomas H. Luxon, Professor of English, Dartmouth College, and his students
    "The site now contains all of Milton's poetry in English, Italian, Latin, and Greek, and selections of his prose. Almost all of the works ... have been fully annotated; most have solid introductions as well."

    Web Pages

    John Milton - Online Library of Liberty
    Includes portrait, short biography, links to timeline of his life and work, various versions of Milton's works and to selected quotations
    "John Milton (1608-1674) ranks among the greatest poets of the English language. He is best known for the epic poem Paradise Lost (1667), but he also wrote prose works on history, religion, and contemporary politics. Although his academic talents marked him for a career in the Anglican church, Milton turned away from the Church of England at an early age and was a consistent supporter of the Puritan cause. He spent most of his life in academia or as a civil servant working for the Puritan Commonwealth."


    John Milton (1608-1674), Religion & Liberty, Aug 2000
    "Milton argued that ... the people have the right to overthrow a monarch who abuses his power. ... Insisting fervently on humanity's rational freedom and responsible power of choice, Milton believed that liberty is best safeguarded by the strong moral character of a nation's citizens."
    Milton - Hero of the Day, by Timothy Sandefur, The Daily Objectivist, 2000
    "John Milton (1608-1674) is well known as the greatest Christian poet, author of Paradise Lost. Less well known is his lifelong dedication to liberty. ... The book was controversial, and as it was published without government permission, Parliament considered banning it. This infuriated Milton, spurring him to pen the Areopagitica, the most beautiful defense of free press in the English language. '[A]s good almost kill a man as kill a good book; who kills a man kills a reasonable creature, God's image; but he who destroys a good Book, kills reason itself.' "


    Areopagitica: A Speech For The Liberty Of Unlicensed Printing To The Parliament Of England [PDF], 23 Nov 1644
    A speech from poet John Milton defending freedom of speech and expression
    "... books are not absolutely dead things, but do contain a potency of life in them to be as active as that soul was whose progeny they are; nay, they do preserve as in a vial the purest efficacy and extraction of that living intellect that bred them. ... Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties."
    Related Topic: Freedom of Speech

    The introductory paragraph uses material from a Wikipedia article, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.