Milton & Toleration

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Sharon Achinstein, Elizabeth Sauer
OUP Oxford, Aug 2, 2007 - Literary Criticism - 334 pages
Locating John Milton's works in national and international contexts, and applying a variety of approaches from literary to historical, philosophical, and postcolonial, Milton and Toleration offers a wide-ranging exploration of how Milton's visions of tolerance reveal deeper movements in the history of the imagination. Milton is often enlisted in stories about the rise of toleration: his advocacy of open debate in defending press freedoms, his condemnation of persecution,and his criticism of ecclesiastical and political hierarchies have long been read as milestones on the road to toleration. However, there is also an intolerant Milton, whose defence of religious liberty reached only as far as Protestants. This book of sixteen essays by leading scholars analyses tolerance inMilton's poetry and prose, examining the literary means by which tolerance was questioned, observed, and became an object of meditation. Organized in three parts, 'Revising Whig Accounts,' 'Philosophical Engagements,' 'Poetry and Rhetoric,' the contributors, including leading Milton scholars from the USA, Canada, and the UK, address central toleration issues including heresy, violence, imperialism, republicanism, Catholicism, Islam, church community, liberalism, libertinism, natural law, legaltheory, and equity. A pan-European perspective is presented through analysis of Milton's engagement with key figures and radical groups. All of Milton's major works are given an airing, including prose and poetry, and the book suggests that Milton's writings are a significant medium through which toexplore the making of modern ideas of tolerance.

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About the author (2007)

Sharon Achinstein is Reader in Renaissance Literature at Oxford University, and author of iLiterature and Dissent in Milton's England/i(2003). Her iMilton and the Revolutionary Reader/i (1994) won the Milton Society of America's James Holly Hanford Prize, and she has edited a special issue of iWomen's Studies/i on Literature and Gender in the English Revolution (1994), and published numerous essays on Milton, Dryden, women's writing, and culture and politics in the seventeenth century.She is a consulting editor for the forthcoming iMilton Encyclopedia/i (Yale University Press) and is an editor for Volume VI of iThe Complete Works of John Milton/i (under preparation for Oxford University Press). Elizabeth Sauer is Professor of English at Brock University, Canada where she was also awarded a Chancellor's Chair for Research Excellence. She has published on early modern English literature and history, Milton, print culture, women's literary history, and the history of imperialism. Her books include i"Paper-contestations" and Textual Communities in England 1640-1675/i (2005), iBarbarous Dissonance and Images of Voice in Milton's Epics/i (1996) and 8 editions/co-editions, including iReading Early Modern Women/i (2004), winner of the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women Best Collaborative Work and iMilton and the Imperial Vision/i (1999), winner of the Milton Society of America Irene Samuel Memorial Award.

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