John Milton Identity

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What is foreign? What is English? These questions at first glance seems simple in modern times and are frequently asked by many scholars and writers in a postmodern landscape especially in England. In turn, we continue to ask the question of “what or who is considered foreign?” in context to the country of our origin. The great English poet John Milton, known for his great epic poem Paradise Lost, asked himself these questions as he set out to write a series of poems and works that would help him pin them down. However, what is considered “simple” and “obvious” to modern readers of Milton was not so “simple” and “obvious” to him. To us, the boundaries between countries are neatly set with countries having distinct territories and lines …show more content…
Milton’s Door and Other Kinds of Visitation,” Cedric C. Brown explores the connections between Milton’s fame in Europe and visits from scholarly foreigners Brown concentrates on visitations in Milton’s later works. Hugh Jenkins in “Shrugging off the Norman Yoke: Milton’s History of Britain and the Levellers” does a similar thing to Brown by delving into one of the multiple facets of the question of Milton’s English identity. Jenkins admits to his readers that his essay will explain the following: “Yet by placing particular emphasis on the making of the English character through its numerous foreign conquests, Milton redefines the concept of the foreign yoke as something potentially beneficial, and thus answers Leveller arguments about “Natural Law” (310). Jenkins reflects on Milton’s The History of Britain and connects Milton’s use of foreign influence on the English identity. The problem with the scholarship Jenkins provides, in the context of my thesis, is that the concept of the English identity seems to be firmly established as Milton is writing. Consequently, after reviewing Milton’s works, it would be hard to pinpoint an “already established” perception of an English identity in Early Modern England. Instead, many writers, including Milton, contended in understanding and creating an English identity despite influence of the Roman or Saxon invaders. Equally, Estelle Haan in Both English and Latin: Bilingualism and Biculturalism in Milton’s Neo-Latin Writings tackles the challenge to understand Milton’s bilingualism in his early poems, and the function it plays when understanding Milton’s diverse cultural inspirations. At the same time, she delves into understanding the biculturalism seen in Milton’s Italian poems. Furthermore, Haan probes the multiple linguistic and cultural lenses Milton uses by providing historical context for her readers. Haan emphasizes on the structure of the poem and the linguistic traditions Milton is

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