Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Cited by 10
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
August 2013
Print publication year:
Online ISBN:

Book description

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.


'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 Source: 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 Source: 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 Source: Review of English Studies

'Students of early modern literature, intellectual history, political theory, and philosophy will discover much to savour.'

Russell M. Hillier Source: 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 Source: Notes and Queries

Refine List

Actions for selected content:

Select all | Deselect all
  • View selected items
  • Export citations
  • Download PDF (zip)
  • Save to Kindle
  • Save to Dropbox
  • Save to Google Drive

Save Search

You can save your searches here and later view and run them again in "My saved searches".

Please provide a title, maximum of 40 characters.



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Book summary page views

Total views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between #date#. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.