Complications of Interest: Milton, Scotland, Ireland and National Identity in 1649

Joad Raymond

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    32 Citations (Scopus)


    Milton's first commissioned treatise for the commonwealth, Articles of Peace … Upon all which are added Observations (1649), has attracted relatively little critical comment and fewer kind words. His attack on the Irish has been seen as a blueprint for the violence of Cromwell's reconquest of Ireland. Yet close contextualization in the politics of the archipelago, comparison among other polemics of this period, and juxtaposition with his other writings in 1649, suggest that in Observations Milton's real concerns lie not with the barbaric Irish, but with Scottish influence on English politics. He expresses misgivings about the civility of his own people that bring into question his patriotism, and he articulates anxiety about the stumbling progress of the revolution in government. The undistinguished work, which Milton never acknowledged, offers an insight into his republicanism, nationalism, and pragmatism at a critical moment in his literary career.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)315-345
    Number of pages31
    JournalReview of English Studies
    Issue number220
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2004

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