Wednesday, April 20, 2011

English Literature And Dissent

First page of Areopagitica, by John MiltonImage via Wikipedia"From its very institutional origin then, the discipline of English Literature was associated with dissent, with the democratization of education, and with resistance to the eliticism of the established universities.  It was helpful in this regard that the most sublime English poet was considered to be John Milton, author not only of the defining religious epic Paradise Lost but also of prose treaties in defence of the freedom of the press (Areopagitica, 1644) and the sovereign right of the people to depose their rulers (The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates, 1649)" - Jonathan Bate, AVI English Literature, p63.
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