The Complete Works of John Milton: Volume III: The Shorter Poems (826pp.)

Barbara Kiefer Lewalski, Estelle Haan

Research output: Book/ReportScholarly edition


Stephen B. Dobranski, Milton Quarterly 49.3 (October, 2015), 181-4:

'By addressing classical and neo-Latin works with which Milton's poems appear to engage, Haan has pursued something unattempted yet. Her erudite and engaging commentary on the Poemata is the most extensive and impressive that I have encountered in any edition ... Haan's discussion of Milton's Poemata - including the Testimonia, the one Italian and four Latin encomia by the poet's acquaintances published in 1645 and 1673 - is remarkably detailed and well-researched. In these sections, readers learn, for example, how Milton's Epitaphium Damonis borrows from both classical writers (Theocritus, Moschus) and contemporary models (Castiglione, Zanchi) while transcending all of them through a pattern of resurrection motifs. Or, readers can discover affinities between Milton's lament on the death of the Bishop of Ely and a poem by the Italian humanist Hieronymo Aleander, Jr., or learn about the connections between Milton's Elegia Quinta and George Buchanan's Maiae Calendae ... The Shorter Poems is a scholarly achievement of the highest order.'

Noam Reisner, Review of English Studies 65 (2014), 744-5:
‘Haan shines with her Neo-Latinist expertise by offering a vivid separate introduction to the Latin poems, which sets up Milton’s poemata specifically within the Neo-Latin contexts of the seventeenth century, thereby dispelling any remaining view of these poems as juvenilia (a view which results from reading the poems chronologically). … The present volume will instantly establish itself as the definitive resource for any reader interested in Milton’s shorter poems, and it is scarcely imaginable that it will ever be eclipsed or be in need of replacing. Its contribution is important in all areas, especially in providing for the first time in a single volume truly valuable documents which can teach us a lot more about Milton’s poetic development than simply reading the poems in chronological sequence. But perhaps, this edition’s greatest achievement is the way in which it succeeds in giving Milton’s Latin poems the pride of place they have long deserved as fully integral to Milton’s complete poetic imagination. Haan’s specific achievement in this regard is less in updating the translations than in providing a different context through which to look at the Latin poems themselves. Haan’s detailed commentaries set the Latin poems in a completely fresh light which looks beyond the obvious classical references and allusions, noted by Carey and many other editors, to Milton’s complex engagement with the Neo-Latin literary culture of his time. It is this aspect of the volume, more than anything else, which vindicates its essentialness.'
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages826
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2014

Bibliographical note

Re-issued 2014 with an extra 10 pages but under the same ISBN


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