376 Why John Milton? (with Joe Moshenska)

Yes, John Milton was important, and yes, Paradise Lost has been part of the canon since the 17th century – but why should we read anything by John Milton today? Do we imbibe his poetry like medicine? Is it a slog through cerebral but sterile prose? Or is there something wilder, more compelling, more alive? In this episode, Jacke talks to biographer Joe Moshenska, author of Making Darkness Light: A Life of John Milton, about the poet beloved by everyone from Virginia Woolf to Jorge Luis Borges to revolutionaries all over the world.

More listening ideas:

Want more Milton? We’ve got you covered in Episode #154 John Milton.
Ready for more wild poetic visions? Try our episode on William Blake.
Poetry not your thing? Check out our interview with Samantha Silva about the life of Mary Wollstonecraft.

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. The History of Literature Podcast is a member of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate Network. Learn more at www.thepodglomerate.com/historyofliterature.


154 John Milton

John Milton (1608 – 1674) was a revolutionary, a republican, an iconoclast, a reformer, and a  brilliant polemicist, who fearlessly took on both church and king. And he ranks among the greatest poets of all time, a peer of Shakespeare and Homer. Philip Pullman, the author who named his trilogy (His Dark Materials) after a Miltonic phrase, said, “No one, not even Shakespeare, surpasses him in his command of the sound, the music, the weight and taste and texture of English words.” In this episode of the History of Literature, we look at the life and works of one of the seventeenth-century’s greatest individuals.

For more on Satan as a runaway character in Milton’s masterpiece Paradise Lost, try Episode 132 – Top 10 Literary Villains.

We covered the OG blind bard Homer all the way back in Episode 3 – Homer.

For another seventeenth-century writer (who isn’t Shakespeare), try Episode 91 In Which John Donne Decides to Write About a Flea.

Support the show at patreon.com/literature. Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.