Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Swift e John Milton in inglese

Letteratura inglese: John Milton, the augustan age, Daniel Defoe e Jonathan Swift in inglese (10 pagine formato doc)

Appunto di valentina88bs


John Milton.

Life and works. John Milton was born in London and at first he wanted to become a clergyman, but then he abandoned this idea for his hate against the Anglican Church and for his love for poetry and prose. He decided to go to France, Italy and Greece. He studied Latin and Greek classic and in Italy he met important figure, like for example Galileo. He was imprisoned in Florence; he returned to England and he supported the Parliament and wrote soma religious, social and political tracts, helped by an assistant, because he had become blind.
His career can be divided in three periods:
-    in the first period he composed poems like “L’Allegro” and “Il Penseroso”.
-    In the second part of his life he wrote social, religious and political tracts about education, divorce and other themes and he started his famous poem “Paradise lost”. He also wrote 17 sonnets.
-    And in the third part he completed “Paradise lost” and he wrote “Paradise Regained” and “Samson Agonistes”, a poetic drama.


Focus on the text: “Paradise lost”.

“Paradise lost” is the most famous poem of Milton and it is one of the most complex and complicated poems of the English literature. Milton tried to imitate the classic Virgil and Homer’s epic poems: “Aeneid”, “Iliad” and “Odyssey”. He wrote, in fact, an epic poem in blank verse (unrhymed iambic pentameter) and, like Virgil and Homer, wrote an exordium, but while the two classic writers invocated a Muse, Milton invocated the Holy Spirit.
Paradise lost” talks about the Fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden in 12 cantos or books. Thanks to his knowledge and intelligence, Milton asks many questions to which are difficult find an answer. In his poem Milton asks an important question that for centuries has perplexed theologians and Biblical commentators: was the Fall of Adam and Eve a God’s plan for a possible salvation or was the Fall a free choice (symbol of free will) and a primal disobedience (leggi disobidiens)?
The structure. “Paradise lost” is divided in twelve cantos or books preceded by a summary that defines the argument, the topic.
The first and the second books narrated about the rebellion of God’s favourite angel Lucifer and for this, Lucifer is banished and he goes to the Hell. So, to revenge himself, Lucifer decides to corrupt with some temptations the most beautiful creation of God, the man.
In the third book God gives the man free choice and free will and He decides to offer his son to save mankind.
In the fourth book Lucifer convinces Eve to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge.
In the fifth book God sends a messenger, Raphael, to banish Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden.


Milton uses landmark for his universe Ptolemaic model of order: God, in the highest place, and the bests in the lowest place.
Copernicus confuted Ptolemaic theory of universe, but his theory wasn’t accepted in the society of that period. This was in conflict with mythical epic tone of Milton’s poem “Paradise lost”.
The political dimension. In this poem the treatment of the object is similar to an allegory for English politics of that period. Rebellion of Lucifer’s rebellion is compared to the Puritans’ rebellion against Charles I. Milton’s devil had a great intelligence like an epic hero and that means that Milton sympathised with the Puritans. The language of the poem.
The language of “Paradise lost” is highly ornate and often obscure. Milton used Latin constructions and derived words from Latin and also classical and Bible allusions. Every phrase had different interpretations.
Language is one of the themes of the poem. In fact, Adam gives a name to everything and before the Fall the essence of the things corresponded to their names. Language before the Fall was innocent and connected to the orality. Lucifer, refused by God, changed his name in Satan; he used the language to corrupt the creation of God Adam and Eve.
Before the Fall, for Adam and Eve the conceit of good and evil didn’t exist.


The restoration of the monarchy. After the Cromwell’s death, his son wasn’t able to govern the protectorate and the monarchy was restored. The new king was Charles II, who had come back from the exile in France.
The royal society was established to improve the natural knowledge; it received the king’s patronage. The royal society had to advise the government about problems that need scientific explanation. Francis Bacon started this movement and than we can found the diarists Evelyn and Pepys.


The rise of the novel.
Before the rise of the novel there were a lot of forms of prose fiction that were similar to a novel, but didn’t describe a real life. In France there were some examples: “Pantagruel”, “Gargantua” and Miguel de Cervantes’ “Don Quixote”.
There are many reasons because there was a growth of novel:
-    the rise of philosophical rationalism:
-    the influence of Puritanism and Methodism: the firsts thought that men must save himself with his efforts and with a virtuous life. The seconds applied the Puritan ethic (the importance of hard work and daily activities).
-    The expansion of the reading public with the increasing of the newspapers.
-    The influence of books, whose structure ad ironic episode of idealistic world was a model for other future novels.