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Milton, Toleration, and Nationhood


  • Date Published: March 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107615199

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About the Authors
  • John Milton lived at a time when English nationalism became entangled with principles and policies of cultural, religious, and ethnic tolerance. Combining political theory with close readings of key texts, this study examines how Milton's polemical and imaginative literature intersects with representations of English Protestant nationhood. Through detailed case studies of Milton's works, Elizabeth Sauer charts the fluctuating narrative of Milton's literary engagements in relation to social, political, and philosophical themes such as ecclesiology, exclusionism, Irish alterity, natural law, disestablishment, geography, and intermarriage. In so doing, Sauer shows the extent to which nationhood and toleration can be subjected to literary and historicist inquiry. Her study makes a salient contribution to Milton studies and to scholarship on early modern literature and the development of the early nation-state.

    • Addresses key debates on early toleration and nationhood
    • Analyses the full range of Milton's works
    • Foregrounds key themes including ecclesiology, civility, exclusionism, Irish alterity, natural law, constitutionalism, disestablishment, geography and intermarriage
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This penetrating new study enhances the field, re-examining through the prism of English nation forming such major Miltonic themes as ecclesiology, exclusionism, natural law, disestablishment and marriage … Sauer's stated intention in Milton, Toleration, and Nationhood is 'to illustrate how a study of these conjoined subjects enriches appreciation of Milton's works, broadens understanding of the role of literature in the conceptualizing of early nationhood, and opens up possibilities for further scholarship in the field'. On all three counts, and with no little aplomb, she has succeeded.' Philip Major, The Review of English Studies

    'Sauer's book outlines a number of excellent arguments.' The Times Literary Supplement

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2016
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107615199
    • length: 234 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 153 x 12 mm
    • weight: 0.34kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Note on editions
    1. 'Temple-worke': Milton's literary ecclesiology
    2. Reduction: civilizing conquests in Ireland
    3. Natural law: Milton's post-revolutionary Defences of England
    4. Disestablishment: divorce of church and state
    5. Geography: spatial poetics
    6. Exogamy: 'entercourse' with philistines

  • Author

    Elizabeth Sauer, Brock University, Ontario
    Elizabeth Sauer is Professor of English at Brock University, Canada, and winner of a Killam Research Fellowship from the Canada Council for the Arts. She has published widely on Milton and Early Modern culture, including co-edited collections such as The New Milton Criticism (2012) and Reading the Nation in English Literature (2010).

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