John Milton: The Inner Life

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Huntington Library, 1983 - Biography & Autobiography - 191 pages
""John Milton: The Inner Life" is the product of a mature scholar's lifelong reflection on Milton. The subject matter is thus significant and intelligent. The style is lively, straightforward, and lucid. Thorpe brings to the study of Milton a breadth of general literary knowledge which is never paraded but which is pervasive in ways which enrich his understanding and ours. There are many good things to savor throughout, and the fifth chapter in particular is the best I remember on Milton's treatment of the natural world. This is an idealistic book, in the best sense, emphasizing basic human values, rather than the minutiae of technical scholarship, but it will attract wide scholarly attention, and I should think also from the general public of intelligent readers."--Roland Mushat Frye, University of Pennsylvania
"A truly elegant and engaging book. Thorpe is a marvelous stylist, his prose crisp and lucid. And the individual chapters mesh wonderfully: they provide a series of perspectives on Milton, an emerging profile of the poet, especially of his inner life. That profile is strongly and finely etched and while it fixes on Milton's inner life, it also takes stock of Milton's sense of others and of the world around him. Throughout, the book is marked by an impressive mastery of Milton's poetry and prose by an agile movement between the efforts of his right, and left, hand, by a sensitive understanding and grasp of a poet who thought that the poet himself would be a true poem. I can think of no book I've read in recent years that is a better introduction to the poet through his writings, of none that makes Milton so attractively accessible to a general reading public."--Joseph A. Wittreich, Jr., University of Maryland
"This is a thoughtful and well-proportioned book, lucidly and gracefully written. It should be welcomed by teachers and students of Milton's poetry and also by non-specialists. It combines fresh insights with sound judgments, and explores with tact and sensitivity the complex problem of the relations between Milton's life and personality and the major themes of his poetry and prose."--John M. Steadman, University of California, Riverside

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Informing Values
Inner Drives

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About the author (1983)

James Thorpe is a distinguished scholar and former director of the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens from 1966-1983. He was Professor of English at Princeton for many years and has written numerous works on authors from Chaucer to Wallace Stevens. He is now a Senior Research Associate at the Huntington.

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