Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Paradise Lost

Today's John Milton's birthday. Born in 1608, he lived through one monarchy, a revolution, a brief republic, a dictatorship (disguised as a protectorate), then a restoration of monarchy. Being politically active, a political flack in fact, he rose and fell as changes occurred, spending time in favor and then in prison. He was also going blind as surely as Thurber, whose birthday was yesterday. He dictated much of his poetry to assistant Andrew Marvell, who was himself a great poet. Milton wrote Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained. For the former landmark in English literature his publisher paid him £10. He also wrote The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce (he was unhappily married), which probably means he was no Puritan, despite his allegiances. John Milton appears four times in A Book of Ages.

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