The New England Milton: Literary Reception and Cultural Authority in the Early Republic

Paperback | August 13, 2008

byKevin Van Anglen

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The New England Milton concentrates on the poet's place in the writings of the Unitarians and the Transcendentalists, especially Emerson, Thoreau, William Ellery Channing, Jones Very, Margaret Fuller, and Theodore Parker, and demonstrates that his reception by both groups was a function of their response as members of the New England elite to older and broader sociopolitical tensions in Yankee culture as it underwent the process of modernization. For Milton and his writings (particularly Paradise Lost) were themselves early manifestations of the continuing crisis of authority that later afflicted the dominant class and professions in Boston; and so, the Unitarian Milton, like the Milton of Emerson's lectures or Thoreau's Walden, quite naturally became the vehicle for literary attempts by these authors to resolve the ideological contradictions they had inherited from the Puritan past.

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The New England Milton concentrates on the poet's place in the writings of the Unitarians and the Transcendentalists, especially Emerson, Thoreau, William Ellery Channing, Jones Very, Margaret Fuller, and Theodore Parker, and demonstrates that his reception by both groups was a function of their response as members of the New England e...

K. P. Van Anglen is Lecturer on History and Literature and Keeper of the F. O. Matthiessen Collection, Harvard University. He is the editor of the Translations volume of The Writings of Henry D. Thoreau (1986), and a contributor to the forthcoming Excursions volume in that series.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.62 inPublished:August 13, 2008Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271028270

ISBN - 13:9780271028279

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“Van Anglen has written a fascinating chapter in New England literary sociology, [revealing] how early nineteenth-century New England used the poetry, example, and person of Milton to solve the problem of authority. The author knows the material thoroughly. His scholarship is inclusive and up-to-date. This is a solid achievement.”

—Robert D. Richardson, Wesleyan University