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Milton and the English Civil War: Charles I

1. Introduction

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About this Lecture


In this module, Diane introduces the course as providing essential historical background for anyone reading Milton's 'Paradise Lost', with a special focus on Charles I. We are asked to keep two things in mind. First, this is a course that looks at Charles through the eyes of Milton, who was a staunch opponent of both Charles I and his son, Charles II. Second, although Milton sees Charles only as a political symbol, there is much to be gained from understanding Charles as a man.


This course provides key historical context for John Milton's 'Paradise Lost', looking in particular at the figure of Charles I. The course is divided into nine parts. The first seven look at Charles' early years (1600-25), his early reign (1625-29), the period of Personal Rule (1629-40), his problems in Scotland (1639-40) and Ireland (1641), and the English Civil War (1642-51). The last two look at the impact of Charles' reign on Paradise Lost, as well as Milton's own politics in this period.


Diane Purkiss is a Professor at Keble College, Oxford. She has published two books on the English Civil War - 'The English Civil War: A People's History' (2006) and 'Literature, Gender, and Politics during the English Civil War' (2005).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Purkiss, D. (2018, August 15). Milton and the English Civil War: Charles I - Introduction [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Purkiss, D. "Milton and the English Civil War: Charles I – Introduction." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,

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