Guest Author: Dr. Stephen B. Dobranski, Professor at GSU
Today’s readers often struggle to understand and appreciate the works of John Milton. Although he is one of the most important and influential writers in English literary history, some readers are intimidated by Milton’s reputation, his period’s apparent remoteness, or his works’ grand yet subtle style. Milton also wrote in unfamiliar genres and modes—such as epic, ode, and pastoral—and his works contain classical and biblical allusions that seem increasingly obscure to a twenty-first-century audience.
I wrote The Cambridge Introduction to John Milton (Cambridge University Press, 2012) to make Milton’s works more accessible and enjoyable for modern readers. I want to explain and to help readers analyze not just Milton’s writings but also the period in which he lived, and the dynamic relation between his writings and his historical circumstances. This book’s other goal is to show why Milton matters—by illustrating the music of his verse, the richness of his language, the complexity of his characters, and his original engagement with theological, philosophical, and political issues that continue to resonate in our current culture.
Among the book’s highlights:
• Includes a detailed chronology of Milton’s life and writings informed by the most recent scholarship
• Contains lively, lucidexplanations of the history and culture in which Milton wrote
• Contains shaded boxes with detailed summaries and close readings of his major works
• Contains separate chapters examining Milton’s poetry and prose
• Contains original arguments and analyses of his context and major works
• Includes an annotated section on “Further reading”
• Contains a concise but detailed overview of Milton’s life and critical history
• Emphasizes Milton’s social practice of writing
A Professor in the Department of English at Georgia State University, Dr. STEPHEN B. DOBRANSKI teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in John Milton, early modern literature, and textual studies as well as introductory courses in British and world literature. He conducts his primary research on John Milton and seventeenth-century print culture. Dr. Dobranski is the author of Readers and Authorship in Early Modern England (2005), winner of the SAMLA Studies Award; Milton, Authorship, and the Book Trade (1999); and A Variorum Commentary on the Poems of John Milton: “Samson Agonistes” (2009), winner of the John T. Shawcross Award. He also co-edited Milton and Heresy (1998) and edited Milton in Context (2010), both winners of the Irene Samuel Memorial Award. Most recently, he completed The Cambridge Introduction to Milton (2012), which he wrote about in this post.