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Milton and the Tradition of Protestant Petrarchism

Serjeantson, D (2014) 'Milton and the Tradition of Protestant Petrarchism.' The Review of English Studies, 65 (272). pp. 831-852. ISSN 0034-6551

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Scholarly accounts of Milton?s engagement with Petrarch often suggest a hostile reading of the Italian poet?s work. The Protestant ideal of Adam and Eve?s companionate marriage in Paradise Lost has been seen as a rebuke to the unfulfilled petrarchan lover and his chaste mistress; the seductive language of petrarchan pleading has been traced in Satan?s tempting speeches. In Of Reformation (1641), however, Milton invoked Petrarch as an authority in the Protestant cause. This paper seeks to reconstruct the alternative tradition of petrarchism which underlies Milton?s reference. It explores the international network of Protestant polemicists and writers among whom it originated, and looks at its influence on works in English, including Spenser?s earliest poems, which precede Of Reformation; it considers the bibliographical evidence for Milton?s reading of Petrarch; and it argues that the politicized and protestantized Petrarch provided an important model for Milton?s own religious sonnets.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This essay won the Review of English Study prize for best early-modern article 2014-15.
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, Department of
Faculty of Humanities
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2014 13:08
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 13:22

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