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The Poetics and Politics of Youth in Milton's England

The Poetics and Politics of Youth in Milton's England

$105.00 (C)

  • Date Published: August 2013
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107038080

$ 105.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • As the notion of government by consent took hold in early modern England, many authors used childhood and maturity to address contentious questions of political representation – about who has a voice and who can speak on his or her own behalf. For John Milton, Ben Jonson, William Prynne, Thomas Hobbes, and others, the period between infancy and adulthood became a site of intense scrutiny, especially as they examined the role of a literary education in turning children into political actors. Drawing on new archival evidence, Blaine Greteman argues that coming of age in the seventeenth century was a uniquely political act. His study makes a compelling case for understanding childhood as a decisive factor in debates over consent, autonomy, and political voice, and will offer graduate students and scholars a new perspective on the emergence of apolitical children's literature in the eighteenth century.

    • Traces the emergence of an apolitical children's literature that is unique to the eighteenth century
    • Draws on many archival sources that will be new to specialists and non-specialists alike
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Specialists will find rich rewards in the overall thesis about the role of childhood in the development of political voice. Advanced undergraduates will most appreciate Greteman’s insightful readings of Milton’s Mask and Paradise Lost. Greteman provides extensive endnotes with full bibliographical details. Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above."
    Blaine Greteman, Choice

    "This well-written study offers a radical rethinking of the conceptualization of childhood put forth by influential historians in the 1960s and '70s and in this context offers compelling new readings of literary texts ranging from Ben Jonson's Epicoene to Milton's Mask, Paradise Lost, and Paradise Regained. … [It] is impressive in its grasp of the complexities and the traditions of Milton scholarship. … Combining fine close reading and textual exploration with a lively and imaginative use of archives that creates a meticulous historical contextualization, The Poetics and Politics of Youth in Milton's England has much to offer readers of Milton's verse and those concerned with the development of political theory during this volatile period. To read it is indeed a fine education."
    Margaret J. M. Ezell, Milton Quarterly

    "… there is much to be gained from reading Greteman’s book. Those interested in how childhood was once genuinely imbued with political significance will find it particularly insightful."
    Merridee L. Bailey, Review of English Studies

    "Students of early modern literature, intellectual history, political theory, and philosophy will discover much to savour."
    Russell M. Hillier, Renaissance Quarterly

    'Poetics and Politics of Youth in Milton’s England … has insight to offer for Miltonists, scholars of theatrical culture, and political historians of Early Modern England alike.' Edmund Christie White, Notes and Queries

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2013
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107038080
    • length: 264 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.51kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: childish things
    Part I. The Growth of Consent and Disciplining of Childhood in Early Modern England:
    1. Coming of age on stage: Jonson's epicoene and the politics of childhood in early Stuart England
    2. Children, literature, and the problem of consent
    3. Contract's children: Thomas Hobbes and the culture of subjection
    Part II. Milton and the Children of Liberty:
    4. 'Perplex't paths': youth and authority in Milton's early work
    5. 'Children of reviving libertie': the radical politics of Milton's pedagogy
    6. 'Youthful beauty': infancy and adulthood among the angels of Paradise Lost
    7. Children of paradise
    Epilogue: 'children gathering pebbles on the shore'.

  • Author

    Blaine Greteman, University of Iowa
    Blaine Greteman is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Iowa. A Rhodes Scholar and a former contributor to Time magazine, he continues to write for both scholarly and popular publications, including Milton Quarterly, Renaissance Quarterly, ELH, Philological Quarterly, and The Review of English Studies. He earned his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley.

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