[Milton-L] Milton on Divorce and Polygamy

Alan Rudrum rudrum at shaw.ca
Sat Nov 17 12:47:37 EST 2007

Carol Barton and Cristine Soliz have both made good points.  I would 
like to enlarge a little.   The questions of divorce and polygamy had 
been swirling around in Europe for a long time - from before Milton was 
born I believe.  This was partly due to the Reformers' different take on 
things, partly due to "Catholic" monarchs wanting divorces and the 
Church pondering the question of whether "polygamy" might not be the 
lesser evil.  So Milton had reason to begin thinking about these things 
before his personal problems gave them a greater urgency.  Further, by 
the time the /Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce/ was published, 
ecclesiastical law had broken down in England, - even Henry Vaughan, 
that great "Anglican", took advantage of the breakdown and married his 
deceased wife's sister - so naturally Milton was among those who were 
thinking about those laws that had formerly been administered by the 

See my essay "Polygamy in /Paradise/ /Lost,/ /Essays/ /in/ /Criticism/," 
Vol. 20, No. 1 (1970), 18-23 (for the reference[s]) therein as well as 
for the argument); and see also

Leo Miller, /Milton Among the Polygamophiles/, NY, 1974.


Alan Rudrum

www.sfu.ca/~rudrum <http://www.sfu.ca/%7Erudrum>


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