In The Value of Milton, leading critic John Leonard explores the writings of John Milton from his early poetry to his major prose. Milton's work includes one of the most difficult and challenging texts in the English literary canon, yet he remains impressively popular with general readers. Leonard demonstrates why Milton has enduring value for our own time, both as a defender of political liberty and as a poet of sublimity and terror who also exhibits moments of genuine humanity and compassion. A poet divided against himself, Milton offers different rewards to different readers. The Value of Milton examines not only the significance of his most celebrated verse but also the function of biblical allegory, classical culture, and the moods, voice and language that give Milton's writings their perennial appeal.
John Leonard is Professor of English at the University of Western Ontario. His books Naming in Paradise: Milton and the Language of Adam and Eve and Faithful Labourers: A Reception History of Paradise Lost, 1667-1970 won the Milton Society of America's James Holly Hanford Award. He became an Honored Scholar of the Milton Society of America in 2014 and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2015.