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Ranking among the greatest of all English poets, John Milton (1608-74) was an influential thinker during a particularly volatile period in his nation's history. His supreme masterpiece Paradise Lost forms one of the pillars of English literature. The literary scholar and historian Sir Walter Alexander Raleigh (1861-1922) was educated at University College London and King's College, Cambridge. Following posts at Liverpool and Glasgow, he was appointed Professor of English Literature at Oxford University, where he also served as an adviser to the Clarendon Press. This work, first published in 1900, is based upon lectures he gave the previous year as Clark Lecturer in English Literature at Trinity College, Cambridge. Admired by the critic William Empson, it is a penetrating study of the great poet and contains a biographical sketch as well as lucid analyses of Milton's use of language and its significant influence.