Literature and Dissent in Milton's England

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The England of John Milton's great poems was the England of Dissenters, those who refused to join the state Church after the return of monarchy in 1660, seen as dangerous outcasts and rebels. Sharon Achinstein's book shows how a literary tradition of dissent was produced by those who suffered political defeat and religious exclusion in Restoration England, bringing to view a range of writing that has been largely, and unjustly, neglected. Considering authors both inside and outside the dissenting tradition, including Milton, John Bunyan, Richard Baxter, Mary Mollineux, John Dryden, Andrew Marvell, Elizabeth Singer Rowe and Isaac Watts, and other little-known dissenting writers, Achinstein shows how a distinctive Dissenting cultural legacy challenges our notions of literary history, aesthetic value and the relation between literature and politics. This important study will be of interest to Milton scholars and seventeenth-century literary and religious historians.