“The brand of gentilism” : Milton’s Jesus and the Augustinian critique of Pagan Kingship, 1649-1671
journal contributionposted on 21.10.2014, 14:25 by John R. D. Coffey
How should we understand the relationship between Milton’s revolutionary prose and his Restoration verse? For many scholars since the eighteenth century, the political tracts bear little relevance to Paradise Lost. Milton’s transcendent epic exists on a literary or spiritual plane far above the murky world of politics. Others have engaged the prose more directly, but detected a sharp disjuncture between the regicidal pamphleteer and the author of Paradise Regained; after the Restoration, they claim, the poet withdrew from politics to faith, or from Cromwellian militarism to Christian pacifism. Against this view, a growing chorus of Miltonists has insisted that he remained true to ‘the good old cause’, that the long poems published in 1667 and 1671 are the work of a defiant Puritan revolutionary.