Offering texts on a variety of aspects of the Anglo-French Renaissance instead of concentrating on one set of borrowings or phenomena, this collection points to new configurations of the relationships among national literatures. Contributors address specific borrowings, rewritings, and appropriations of French writing by English authors, in fields ranging from lyric poetry to epic poetry to drama to political treatise. The bibliography presents a comprehensive list of publications on French connections in the English Renaissance from 1902 to the present day.
Catherine Martin not only questions the current habit of "lumping" Milton with the religious Puritans but agrees with a long line of literary scholars who find his values and lifestyle markedly inconsistent with their beliefs and practices. Pursuing this argument, Martin carefully reexamines the whole spectrum of seventeenth-century English Puritanism from the standpoint of the most recent and respected scholarship on the subject. Martin also explores other, more secular sources of Milton's thought, including his Baconianism, his Christian Stoic ethics, and his classical republicanism; she establishes the importance of these influences through numerous direct references, silent but clear citations, and typical tropes.
All in all, Milton among the Puritans presents a radical reassessment of Milton's religious identity; it shows that many received ideas about the "Puritan Milton" are neither as long-established as most scholars believe nor as historically defensible as most literary critics still assume, and resituates Milton's great poems in the period when they were written, the Restoration.