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John Milton (1608-1674)

John Milton was surely the most important Puritan writer and representative of his historical period.
He was born in London in 1608. Gifted with a sensitive nature, like his father, who was a scrivener, he had a great love for learning, the arts and music.
Milton received a good education. Since he was very young, he used to read and read at night to the light of a candle. This habit weakened his eyes.

Once grown up, Milton attended Cambridge university and, when he quitted his studies, he studied the most famous Latin and English writers, and started to write poems himself.
He knew Latin, Greek, Italian and French very well.

He moved to Horton, living in his family’s country house for six years. There he wrote lots of poems (in fact we can say that poetry was his real vocation).

Then we visited France and Italy (there he met Galileo and joined literary cicles), but, when he knew the Civil War was going to break out in England, he decided to go back to London.
There he became a teacher but he didn’t gained great popularity with this job, because of his strict and cold way to deal with children.
In the same period, he sided with Cromwell, and he also took part in the numerous religious debates of the time.

When he was 32, he married Mary Powell, that soon left him.
Even if this fact made him very sad, some years later he married another woman.

When king Charles I was killed, Milton became “Latin Secretary to Cromwell’s Council State”.

Unfortunately, in 1652, because of his weak eyes, he became blind.
When Cromwell died and there was the restoration of monarchy, his life was in danger, and he was also imprisoned for a little time.

He lived his last years in London with his three daughters.
It will seem a paradox but, even if he was old, blind and had seen the failure of all his hopes, this was Milton’s most creative period, during which he wrote his three masterpieces: “Paradise Lost”, “Paradise Regained” and “Samson Agonistes”.

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Milton, John