John Milton’s 400th Birthday

Today is John Milton’s 400th birthday, so I will be sharing some Milton with you this week. John Milton is generally regarded as the greatest English poet after Shakespeare. His most famous work is the masterful epic poem Paradise Lost. He also wrote other poems, as well as a number of political works.

Milton aspired at a young age to write a great epic poem. In order to do this, he devoted himself to years of study. He learned Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French, Spanish, and Italian in his undergraduate years. After receiving his M.A., at age 24 he undertook six years of private study in preparation for his poetical career. During this time he immersed himself in both ancient and modern works of theology, philosophy, history, politics, literature, and science. He also wrote several lengthy poetical works.

In the 1640’s Milton’s poetical ambitions got sidetracked by the English Civil War. Milton spent the next decade writing mostly political works. He did not return to poetry until after he went blind in 1652 at the age of forty-three. He wrote Paradise Lost during the years 1658-1663 and died in the year 1667.

Athough Milton was not orthodox in his beliefs (he had a deficient view of the trinity, and he rejected the duality of body and spirit), his works are well worth reading and studying by Christians. Paradise Lost in particular, with its focus on the fall of man, has many rich insights for believers.

Related posts:

Also of interest: An Interview with Leland Ryken about Milton’s Paradise Lost

1 Comment

  1. Bethany says:

    There was a great article about a new translation of Paradise Lost, into English prose instead of poetry. Supposedly, it can make reading it more accessible for those that struggle with the often dense and complex style, but there is always something to be lost when translating. At least the new translation is a “side by side” version, so the reader can go back and see what Milton actually wrote.

Leave a Reply