Milton's Languages: The Impact of Multilingualism on Style

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Cambridge University Press, Aug 28, 1997 - Literary Criticism - 245 pages
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Milton's poetry is one of the glories of the English language, and yet it owes everything to Milton's widespread knowledge of other languages: he knew ten, wrote in four, and translated from five. In Milton's Languages, John K. Hale first examines Milton's language-related arts in verse-composition, translations, annotations of Greek poets, Latin prose and political polemic, giving all relevant texts in the original and in translation. Hale then traces the impact of Milton's multilingualism on his major English poems. Many vexed questions of Milton studies are illuminated by this approach, including his sense of vocation, his attitude to print and publicity, the supposed blemish of Latinism in his poetry, and his response to his literary predecessors. Throughout this full-length study of Milton's use of languages, Hale argues convincingly that it is only by understanding Milton's choice among languages that we can grasp where Milton's own unique English originated.

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