With global terrorism a seemingly daily threat, the twenty-first century is permeated with violence and in search of some way to better understand the world and its different religions and politics. In recent decades, the literary world has shifted to a similar focus, producing new works and reexamining old ones to aid in forming a vision relevant to such a violent world. In Visionary Milton: Essays on Prophecy and Violence, distinguished Milton scholars are brought together in dialogue to discuss John Milton's focus on prophecy and violence in his work and how these themes add to an understanding of Milton as a visionary. The collection begins with a fresh analysis of the visionary mode of narrative in the early modern period as seen in both biblical and imaginative literature and sets the groundwork for an examination of Milton's poetry, prose, and biography. The themes of prophecy and violence develop throughout these essays as an overall context in Milton's life, as an important principle in such works as Paradise Regain'd, and as a mode for an extended analysis of Restoration politics as they figure in Milton's poetry.
Visionary Milton extends the literary discussion of Milton's work into a larger geopolitical area. The collection is important not only for those interested in Milton, but also for historians, political scientists, and theologians.
John T Shawcross was professor emeritus of English at the University of Kentucky. He is the author of numerous books, including With Mortal Voice: The Creation of Paradise Lost. He is coeditor of Milton and the Grounds of Contention, and is a two-time winner of the James Holly Hanford Award for the most distinguished book on Milton.