For next time, we will be reading Milton's prose tract, Areopagitica.
Questions we will be asking:
1. What is the genre of Milton's prose tract? What was the occasion of its composition? For whom was it written? Why did Milton write the tract? What are the aims of the tract?
2. What were the particular contexts for Milton's composition? Given these contexts, what is strange about the frontispiece of the tract figured above?
3. Critics claim that Milton began the early modern challenge to censorship. Is this born out by a reading of his prose tract?
4. 'Milton was a liberal before his time.' Do you agree?
5. 'Milton's London was like Petrograd in 1945 and Havana in 1965, and Areopagitica was neither liberal or libertarian in its time; it is a militant and exclusivist revolutionary pamphlet.' Do you agree with this sentiment?
6. How does Milton represent difference in his prose tract? What does he think about - in his own terms - about sects and schisms?
7. Milton - as we saw in relationship to Lycidas - was attacked for his metaphysical temperament. Are there ways in which the sensibility that nourised - according to Dr. Johnson - discordia concors in his poetry is also present in Areopagitica?
A text of the tract - if not in your anthologies - is available here.