Tobias B. Gregory
- Associate Professor
- Catholic University of America
The epic supernatural: divine action in Renaissance heroic poetry
Milton’s Strenuous Liberty
This project provides a new understanding of Milton on liberty, a leading theme in his poetry and prose. It argues that Milton’s writings about liberty should be understood rhetorically rather than systematically: Milton did not produce a theory of liberty, but employed the rhetoric of liberty to particular ends. The project analyzes and describes those ends, drawing on scholarship in early modern history, religion, and political thought as well as literature. In doing so, the project reevaluates the place of politics in Milton’s poetry, tracks continuity and change over the course of his career, and aims to discern amongst his shifting concerns which ones touched him most deeply. Milton emerges in this study as an eloquent propagandist for unpopular positions, and as a poet who, in his late masterpieces, arrived at a broader perspective on the Puritan revolution he had supported without disavowing that lost cause.