William Blake, Milton

David Punter (University of Bristol)
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Among Blake's Prophetic Books,


stands out as both the most personal and also the one which is most concerned with the role and function of the poet. The framework of it, as one might expect, is Blake's complex engagement with Milton, and it differs sharply from the alternative engagement offered in

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

. In


, Milton is shown initially as a figure of error who, in

Paradise Lost

, misrepresented God. Behind this lies Blake's own oft-repeated conviction that there is no God at all if one considers Him to be distinct from man; on the contrary, God resides only in the human breast. Milton, on the other hand, had shown God as an external, authoritarian figure.

Milton, therefore, although he had the divine gift of poetry, had misused his genius, and the

658 words

Citation: Punter, David. "Milton". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 24 January 2002 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=3581, accessed 05 March 2024.]

3581 Milton 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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