Cover image for The Divorce Tracts of John Milton: Texts and Contexts By Sara J. van den Berg and W. Scott Howard

The Divorce Tracts of John Milton

Texts and Contexts

Sara J. van den Berg and W. Scott Howard

BUY

The Divorce Tracts of John Milton

Texts and Contexts

Sara J. van den Berg and W. Scott Howard

Both in content and in method, Milton’s divorce tracts are important for the questions we ask of the past in order to address urgent issues of the present. Milton’s argument that divorce could be “to the good of both sexes” makes this often intimidating writer and his era accessible and compelling to contemporary readers. His claim for divorce on the basis of mutual incompatibility established the groundwork for the justification of divorce in late twentieth century Anglo-American law. Milton’s rhetorical methods from cogent advocacy to speculative commentary and poignant vignettes, from citation of authorities and carefully reasoned biblical exegesis to defensive vituperation demonstrate the range of debate in seventeenth century pamphlet warfare that endures in the media of modern culture.

 

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  • Bio
Both in content and in method, Milton’s divorce tracts are important for the questions we ask of the past in order to address urgent issues of the present. Milton’s argument that divorce could be “to the good of both sexes” makes this often intimidating writer and his era accessible and compelling to contemporary readers. His claim for divorce on the basis of mutual incompatibility established the groundwork for the justification of divorce in late twentieth century Anglo-American law. Milton’s rhetorical methods from cogent advocacy to speculative commentary and poignant vignettes, from citation of authorities and carefully reasoned biblical exegesis to defensive vituperation demonstrate the range of debate in seventeenth century pamphlet warfare that endures in the media of modern culture.

Sara J. van den Berg is professor of English and chair of the English Department at Saint Louis University. She is the author of The Action of Ben Jonson’s Poetry, and her essays have appeared in a variety of publications, including Milton Quarterly, Modern Language Quarterly, Early Modern Literary Studies, Ben Jonson Journal, and Literature and Psychology.

W. Scott Howard is associate professor and director of graduate studies in the Department of English at the University of Denver and the founding editor of the electronic peer-reviewed journal, Appositions: Studies in Renaissance /Early Modern Literature & Culture. His essays have appeared in Milton Quarterly and Early Modern Literary Studies, among others. He has also received support from the PEW Charitable Trusts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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