I am about half way through the book, and I have found Poole's remarks on Milton's scholarship, poetic theory (Tasso gets good mentions) and theology to be enlightening. Just ahead in my reading, in the second half of the book, Poole describes Paradise Lost. Thus far, I see some interesting reflections of my own questions and "hunches." Indeed, I am inclined to think that this is the best book I've ever read on Milton and Paradise Lost. This study will certainly be helpful as I seek to appropriately and accurately apply Milton to my ideas on the subject of philosophy and literature.
Two remarks: 1) Poole's treatment of the scholarship is exhaustive, to-the-point and well-selected. 2) He is making it very "easy" (if that is the right word) for me to take Milton's ideas and apply them to things I find interesting in Locke, Jonathan Mayhew, Hawthorne, Melville, Nabokov, Wittgenstein, and the authors of the Declaration and the U.S. Constitution. Reminding us at the beginning of his book that the subject of Milton and politics has been done over and over again, Poole dismisses any anticipated claims that his project could be construed as "whiggish," and he states instead that his subject is chiefly Milton's theology. It is a pleasant statement.
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