What does it mean to say that "Milton does not represent but dominates his Age"?
The theory that ‘John Milton does not represent , but dominates his age’ may be a reference to the idea that the poet was a groundbreaker and a way-paver rather than a poet who fitted in with the current style of writing and thinking at the time. Remember he was also very political, with radical ideas and lived through some of England’s most turbulent times. Paradise Lost, his major piece, was published in 1667, and can be read as an allegory in political mode. Man’s fall from Eden could symbolise the lost heaven of Milton's idealised Republic, an idea he nurtured even though he came from a wealthy family himself,growing up on Bread Street, London in 1608, and going from there to Cambridge for his studies. Milton then went on a tour of continental Europe, seeing for himself the European republics and he noted the prevalence of Catholicism. However he had to come home early in 1639, alarmed by hearing news of civil disturbance in England and even the threat of war. He began to write with Republican sympathies and the new printing press made the dissemination of his ideas and writings much easier and the publicity helped the Cromwellian revolution. He married in 1642, and had four children with his young wife Mary. His sight began to deteriorate and some of his poems had to be dictated and in 1654 he was almost blind. After Cromwell's death, the republic idea died down and following the restoration of the monarch Milton was put in prison. He wasn’t executed but it was a very narrow escape and he was lucky to be released. So as you can see, John Milton was more revolutionary than representative.