I am searching for historical facts regarding John Milton, including his birth, childhood, literary achievements, married life, and his death.

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

John Milton is regarded as one of the greatest writers of all time. I will be happy to provide you with some details regarding his life. More information is available at the at the reference links below.

Milton was born in London in 1608, into a staunchly Roman Catholic family. He was tutored when young, then was enrolled in school. Ultimately he earned both a bachelor's degree and a master's degree. Though trained to enter the clergy, Milton chose not to because of ideological differences with the Anglican Church, and his desire to become a poet. It was as a poet that Milton's literary genius came to light.

Milton is regarded as the greatest English epic poet and as second only to the greatest dramatic poet, William Shakespeare.

Milton was of average height and appearance, was considered a lady's man in his youth and was known for his "scathing wit." Milton was educated with excellent results (as seen in his work), but he was also an avid reader. He read by candlelight late into the night as a youngster, and continued to do so throughout his life; reading for himself ended when he lost his eyesight in 1652 and had to depend on others to be his eyes.

Milton was married to Mary Powell and had three daughters; he lost his son a month after his wife died. He married again, but lost his wife to complications of childbirth, and soon their child died as well. Milton's third wife was very supportive of his work for the next twelve years.

Milton was undaunted in criticizing government or religion, or in championing the rights of personal freedom. He made many enemies in this fashion. When Charles II was restored to the throne (called the Restoration), Milton's hopes for the success of the Puritan Commonwealth were dashed.

[It] brought threats against the life of this most vocal Republican, advocate of divorce, and defender of regicide.

Respect for Milton by other intellectuals in Europe saved him when his enemies might have sought to kill him.

Milton's epic poem, Paradise Lost, is perhaps the piece for which Milton is most famous. It was religious in nature. It is based upon the biblical account in Genesis of man's creation and his eventual fall in the Garden of Eden. In 1667 the first edition of Paradise Lost's ten books was published. The piece is still greatly admired, and has influenced many gifted and creative writers, from John Dryden and Mary Shelley, to C.S. Lewis and even Gene Roddenberry.

Milton died in November of 1674 and was buried in London.