Milton and the Rhetoric of Zeal
Publication Year: 2005
Published by: Duquesne University Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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My first reading of Milton's prose came as an undergraduate at the University of Washington in the fall of 1948, in the midst of one of the first postwar witch hunts in an American state university. The anxiety and disappointed idealism that followed World War II were developing into the Cold War and were soon to spawn the venomous McCarthy Era of ...
A Note on Texts
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I have retained original spellings in most of my early texts,while regularizing i's, j's, u's, v's, and long s's. For background material in the first chapter, I have used modern editions where possible, including those for Bishop Hall, but in chapter 4 I use earlier editions for Hall, in order to retain the intensely...
One. The Rhetoric of Zeal
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The English "Wars of Truth" were intoxicated with language. The exhilaration of print, with its capacities for a larger and more varied audience; the opportunities it offered for anonymity, for sustained display, for self-aggrandizement; the sharp edges of the contrasting positions it admitted to its colloquy; the almost infinite possibilities of ...
Two. Of Reformation: The Politics of Vision
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In the carefully nurtured Puritan view of providential history, the year 1640–1641 joined 1588 and 1605 as another annus mirabilis.1 Like the defeat of the Spanish Armada and the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot, the falls of Lord Protector Strafford and Archbishop William Laud were seen as direct interventions by a God who really did take sides. The old ...
Three. Words, Words, Words and the Word: Of Prelatical Episcopacy
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Of Prelatical Episcopacy1 is the shortest of the anti-prelatical tracts, the most subdued in rhetorical spirit and, on the surface at least, in intellectual ambition. Yet even here there are passages of power and (more rarely) of beauty, usually in the condemnation of spurious authority or in the praise of Scripture. And there is an impression of success, of ...
Four. Style and Rectitude: Hall, Smectymnuus and Milton's Animadversions1
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Milton's first plunge into controversy must have been effective. The "Postscript" to the Smectymnuan Answer elicited pointed remarks from Bishop Hall in A Defence of the Humble Remonstrance, including accusation of plagiarizing the well-known Puritan pamphlet Sions Plea. Did Milton contribute to the second Smectymnuan pamphlet, ...
Five. "Sanctifi’d Bitterness": A Modest Confutation and An Apology Against a Pamphlet
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I have argued that the emphasis in these debates was largely on the rectitude of the writers involved. Milton's presence is assertive and almost palpable. Yet the argument against prelacy is the reason for his presence, and that presence must be both justified and ancillary to his purpose. Donne and Herbert had earlier recorded their perceptions, often anguished, ...
Six. Kerygmatic Authority in The Reason of Church-Government
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The Reason of Church-Government Urg'd against Prelaty is the longest of the antiprelatical tracts, the first to be acknowledged by its author, and the most carefully read of Milton's early prose pieces. The autobiographical essay at the head of book 2, with its resplendent promises for the future, suggests a new stage of awareness of his career, a public...
Coda. Rhetoric and Revolution: The Eccentrical Equation
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I joined the faculty at the State University of New York at Stony Brook in the summer of 1968. It was an exciting move for me and my family, from the beautiful and dignified campus of the University of Delaware to the raw, new community emerging from the mud of Long Island with enormous energy and stridency. At Newark, Delaware, I had felt like a radical...
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Page Count: 271
Publication Year: 2005