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Milton, John (1608–1674)

John Milton was one of the iconic figures of English literature. He is most familiar for his epic poem Paradise Lost and, in particular, his depiction of Satan. However, his legacy extends far beyond that one monumental work and indeed beyond poetry: He was a forceful and courageous writer on matters political and theological. In the turmoil preceding the English Civil War, he lent intellectual support to the republican cause and, upon the establishment of the Commonwealth, was employed to write tracts defending Oliver Cromwell's actions, in particular his execution of the king. Following the Restoration of the monarchy, he was threatened with hanging and briefly jailed before influential friends secured his release. The remainder of his life was spent in the construction of his ...

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