Johnson's Milton

Johnson's Milton

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Christine Rees
Cambridge University Press, 5/6/2010
EAN 9780521192798, ISBN10: 052119279X

Hardcover, 312 pages, 22.9 x 15.2 x 1.9 cm
Language: English

Samuel Johnson is often represented as primarily antagonistic or antipathetic to Milton. Yet his imaginative and intellectual engagement with Milton's life and writing extended across the entire span of his own varied writing career. As essayist, poet, lexicographer, critic and biographer - above all as reader - Johnson developed a controversial, fascinating and productive literary relationship with his powerful predecessor. To understand how Johnson creatively appropriates Milton's texts, how he critically challenges yet also confirms Milton's status, and how he constructs him as a biographical subject, is to deepen the modern reader's understanding of both writers in the context of historical continuity and change. Christine Rees's insightful study will be of interest not only to Milton and Johnson specialists, but to all scholars of early modern literary history and biography.

Johnson and Milton
Part I. Johnson the Reader/Writer
Appropriating Milton's Texts
1. Summoning Milton's ghost
Miltonic allusion in the periodical essays
2. 'No Miltonian fire'? Miltonic allusion in Johnson's poetry
3. Rasselas
a rewriting of Paradise Lost?
4. 'Licence they mean when they cry liberty'
the 1770s tracts
Part II. Johnson the Critic
Assessing Milton's Achievement
5. 'Phantoms which cannot be wounded'
the Lauder affair
6. Cutting a colossus
Johnson's criticism of Paradise Lost
7. Cherry-stones
Johnson on Milton's shorter poems
Part III. Johnson the Biographer
Constructing Milton's Character
8. 'An acrimonious and surly republican'
Milton as political subject
9. 'Domestick privacies'
Milton as private subject
10. Conclusion
'what other author ever soared so high?'