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John Milton (December 9, 1608 – November 8, 1674) was an English poet, best-known for his epic poem Paradise Lost.
Milton was educated at St Paul's School, London. He was originally destined for a ministerial career, but his independent spirit led him to give this up. He matriculated at Christ's College, Cambridge in 1625 and studied there for seven years before he graduated as Master of Arts cum laude on July 3, 1632. At Cambridge, Milton tutored the American theologian Roger Williams in Hebrew, in exchange for lessons in Dutch. There is evidence to suggest that Milton's experiences at Cambridge were not altogether positive and were later to contribute to his views on education. On graduating from Christ's College, Milton undertook six years of self-directed private study in both the ancient and modern disciplines of theology, philosophy, history, politics, literature and science, in preparation for his prospective poetical career. As a result of such intensive study, Milton is considered to be among the most learned of all English poets. In a Latin poem, possibly composed in the mid-1630s, Milton thanks his father for supporting him during this period.
Milton penned Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained through dictation because of his blindness. This required him to store vast portions of the poems in his memory for oral recitation—all the more remarkable considering how much planning such complex works would require, even on paper, yet Milton did the organizing without such tactile aids. For more on John Milton, click here.
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