In his authoritative volume, Filippo Falcone traces the concept of Christian liberty in Milton’s work, from the early prose tracts to the literary and theological complexities of Paradise Lost. Traditional liberalist readings of Milton have seen his tireless defence of liberty in all areas of social and political life during the years of England’s Interregnum as the result of a conception of individual liberty as only fully definable within the context of public liberties. Milton’s Inward Liberty offers a powerful reassessment of such readings, arguing that true individual liberty is more appropriately defined in Milton as an inward, Christian liberty. Through detailed textual analysis of Milton’s writings and the works of Scripture that influenced them, Filippo Falcone explores how this spiritual investment in inward liberty impacted Milton’s poetic style, and his understanding of the nature of marriage and the civil community.
Milton’s Inward Liberty is a work of specialised Christian scholarship that offers illuminating insights into Milton’s theology of freedom, and the complex political and theological implications surrounding the word ‘liberty’ in the literary, religious and political culture of Reformation England. It will appeal to students and scholars of Milton, and to those interested in literature and religious discourse.
Notes on the Text
Foreword by Marialuisa Bignami
1. Christian Liberty towards Paradise Lost
2. Christian Liberty and Paradise Lost
3. Inner Light and Christian Liberty
4. Satan’s Inward Prison
5. Eschatology Inaugurated
Endorsements and Reviews
Milton’s Inward Liberty is a major contribution to Milton studies and, underscoring the necessity of approaching Milton’s work and theology iuxta propria principia, proposes a new, challenging hermeneutical paradigm. Falcone’s exacting theological reading reverses the traditional wisdom of a ‘liberal’ Milton and, highlighting the ultimate incompatibility of the way of the self and the way of grace, convincingly presents true liberty as an inward reality and the ruling principle underlying Milton’s work.
Daniele Borgogni, University of Turin
Filippo Falcone’s theological study of Milton’s complex spiritual investment in inward liberty is a tour de force of scholarship, insight, and simple, unassuming intelligence and wisdom. Milton studies have sorely needed, for a very long time now, a theological study of this calibre – one that is conducted with deep sympathy for Milton’s overt Christian beliefs, and rightly views those beliefs as the affective key to appreciating the intellectual rigour of Milton’s major poetry.
Noam Reisner, Tel Aviv University
Falcone makes his case reasonably well. … There are some good insights.
Theo Hobson, in Modern Believing, Vol 57.2