Print, Manuscript, and Political Culture in Revolutionary England
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: University of Massachusetts Press
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Table of Contents
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List of Illustrations
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This book would never have been possible were it not for the kind support— academic and material— of the Rutgers English Department, chaired at diﬀerent times by Richard Miller and Kate Flint. They both advised me in crucial ways and, along with Deans Ann Fabian and Barry Qualls, enabled me to obtain support essential to the completion of this ...
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In the past twenty years, research on the history of the book has produced an increasingly detailed sense of how the technologies of reading— such as notebooks, libraries, and practices of annotation— shaped the ways readers confronted texts, collected information from them, and recirculated this information in their own writing. Historians...
Chapter 1: A Material History of Texts in Milton’s England
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The writing of literary history is complicated by the fact that what remains of the past bears only a partial relation to what actually existed. This problem is far more severe for the earliest stages of literary history, where— to take the most famous example— the chance survival of a single flame-scorched manuscript now known as Beowulf must represent...
Chapter 2: Combing the Annals of Barbarians: The Commonplace Book and Milton’s Political Scholarship
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There are limits to what source study can reveal about the derivation of a writer’s ideas, even when we are fortunate enough to have a substantial collection of notes from that writer. Yet even in the most straightforward ways, Milton’s collection of notes, titled the Commonplace Book shortly after its discovery in 1874, remains...
Chapter 3: Areopagitica: Books, Reading, and Context
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Criticism of Areopagitica has often sought either to extol the work as a cornerstone in the foundation of the liberal tradition, or to diminish and even renounce such claims as misreadings of Milton’s more conservative intentions. Following the Whig and Romantic lionization of Milton during the nineteenth century, traditional...
Chapter 4: “The Digression” and Milton’s Return to Polemics
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In early 1649 Milton revisited the polemical battlefield after a long and mysterious absence from public debate. Rushed into print within two weeks after the king’s execution, The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates marks a return after a hiatus of almost four years— the last two divorce tracts having appeared in March 1645. Milton’s only...
Chapter 5: History and Natural Law in The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates
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At the end of Marvell’s “Horatian Ode upon Cromwell’s Return from Ireland,” written in the late spring of 1650, Marvell bids Cromwell to keep his “sword erect,” not only because the gesture has, according to myth, the power to ward off evil spirits, but also because the sword has become necessary...
Chapter 6: “His Book Alive”: Defending Popular Sovereignty after the Execution
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Milton’s Latin defense addressing Europe, satirically titled A Defense of the People of England, against Claude the Anonymous, Otherwise Known as Salmasius, begins with the promise that he will show “under what law, particularly that of the English, this judgement was made and executed” (PW 52). As is generally...
Chapter 7: Conclusion: Historical Politics and the Instability of Print Culture
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In the course of the period covered in this book, Milton moves from being a polemicist whose chief purported audience is the Parliament, to a polemicist justifying the overthrow of this Parliament, to a counter-propagandist— perhaps even a propagandist— for the newly constructed Rump Parliament. Soon...
Appendix A: The Index Politicus of Milton’s Commonplace Book: Authors, Texts, and Citations
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Appendix B: The Scribal Entries in Milton’s Commonplace Book: Amanuenses, Students, Researchers, or Visitors?
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Page Count: 272
Illustrations: 7 illus.
Publication Year: 2010