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Milton John was an English poet (London 1608 - 1674 therein). His father John (d. 1647), a notary who had artistic aspirations and tendency for music (composed psalms, motets, madrigals), made him study classical languages, Hebrew, Italian; tutor from Th. Young, Presbyterian, also arose the interest in the great religious controversies of his time.
He studied at Cambridge University, where under the influence of empiricism of Bacon took root in aversion to school, and where he soon began to write, partly as academic exercise, verses, mainly in Latin elegies (In adventum veris) and epistles; towards the end of 1629 he wrote the Ode on the morning of Christ's Nativity, which marks the first phase of his artistic maturity. In the same year he had obtained the songbook of G. Della Casa, where he studied the technique of the sonnet and absorbed the so-called heroic style which was later to find more example in T. Tasso. One of the academic exercises "if it was the most excellent day and night" gave him the inspiration for the two poems L'Allegro and that were probably written in 1631. After graduation (1632), he retired to Horton ( Buckingham shire), where his father had bought a small property, and spent six years of intense study (described in the Commonplace Book), preparing, waiting to make a great heroic poem, according to the aspiration that the example Italian literature, was his era in England. During this time he composed under the influence of Foure hymnes E. Spenser, the pastoral drama Comus, represented in Ludlow in 1634, which marked the triumph of chastity on the magician Como, and in 1637 the funeral elegy pastoral Lycidas. In these two works is already conflict between sensual love and platonic love that will become one of his dominant themes. In 1638 he was in Italy: Florence attended the company of men of letters, he read his verses in Latin Academy of listless and perhaps met with Galileo; in Rome he met the singer Eleonora Baroni for which he wrote three Latin epigrams; in Naples, where he spent part of the winter 1638-39, he met GB Manso where he directed an epistle in Latin, referring to his purpose to write a poem on the heroic cycle of the Arthurian legends. Induced to return home (July 1639) by the British political affairs, he insisted that regard nell'Epitaphium Damonis, other pastoral elegy funeral (in Latin), written the same year in the death of G. Diodati. But, before leaving Italy, he witnessed in a sacred representation having as topic the fall of Adam; despite some doubt recently, it seems certain that Milton had known Adam of GB Andreini.
Milton, who was far less puritanical than in the past it was thought (many of the religious views expressed in his prose works are extraneous or even contrary not only to the puritanism but to Christianity in general), is considered far more Renaissance man. This explains how he still had in it something of the spirit that had animated the Elizabethan dramatic poets and that the aspiration towards the tragic poetry in him was alive and constant as the other towards the heroic poem. Back in England, he cultivated for some time actively About compose a tragedy on the Fall of Adam, of which there are four sketches. He devoted himself to teaching which attributed the meantime, according to the humanistic tradition, great importance (Of education, 1644) and participated in the religious and political struggles of his country, that would lead to the execution of Charles I, by writing, in the cause puritanical , pamphlets (Of ing touch-reformation church disciplines in England; Of prelatical episcopacy, 1641, etc.) and becoming champion of free speech in Areopagitica (1644). In the years of separation from his first wife, Mary Powell, daughter of a monarchist, he wrote four books in favor of divorce (The doctrine and discipline of divorce, in 1643, The Judgment of Martin Bucer Concerning divorce, in 1644; and Tethracordon Colasterion, 1645) . For twenty years Milton that after the triumph of the Puritan cause, had accepted the post of secretary of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the State Council, did not remember that seldom to be poet (the famous sonnet on the massacre of Waldensian, Avenge O Lord thy slaughter'd Saints, the other on the blindness that had struck him in 1651, When I Consider how my light is spent, and a third on the appearance in a dream of his second wife dead, I saw my Methought Late espoused Saint, 1658). He dedicated himself to activities controversy in defense of republicanism, which also support the apology of regicide (Eikonoklastes, 1649, Pro populo Anglican defensio, 1651, which was his triumphant controversy over Salmasius; Defensio Secunda, 1654, which is his greatest work Latin prose) and wrote, between 1655 and 1659, the theological treatise Christian Doctrine. Four years of relative truce (1655-59) brought back Milton poetry: Clues lead to believe that towards 1655 the poet began to deal seriously with the Paradise Lost, and it would lead to the end of the first two books before the restoration of Charles II (1660 ), when he lost much of his fortune and retired to private life, he composed his major works. The poem Paradise Lost was published in 1667 and in 1671 appeared with the poem Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes tragedy, with which Milton finally put into effect its aspiration to tragic poetry. The solemnity of the biblical themes which he was inspired (the fall of the angels and the fall of man, the reconquest of Paradise through Christ, the sacrifice of Samson, blind as the poet himself, chooses death to destroy enemies the homeland) is reflected in the solemnity of blank verse he used with great wisdom. Like Paradise Lost (where the figure of Satan expresses the energy heroic where Milton strongly believed) is the culmination of the efforts of the heroic poem Christian, whose vogue dates from the sixteenth century Italian, so Samson Agonistes is the most riu Scythian accomplished than restoration of the theater of the Greeks, which the Renaissance had aimed.
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