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  • Print publication year: 2002
  • Online publication date: March 2008

17 - Milton

Milton's earliest publications and performances appeared in contexts supported by a traditional, perhaps courtly, emphasis on interpersonal relations. Or perhaps Marshall wanted to capture the contrast between the present poet and the author Milton repeatedly evokes in the accompanying text by reminding the reader of his unripe years at the time of composition. Yet Milton was a less than censorious licenser: famously he was examined in 1652 for having approved for publication (in August 1650) a work known as the Racovian Catechism, a Socinian text which Parliament subsequently condemned as 'blasphemous, erroneous, and scandalous'. It is possible that they were an afterthought, or that Milton strategically added them, with the errata, after the text had been licensed and partly printed. It appeared with an engraved portrait by William Faithorne, subsequently widely reproduced. Milton's later works generally appeared with the plain attribution The Author John Milton or By John Milton, this offered only initials, though this does not amount to concealment.
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