John Milton: Liberty in his Prose and Poetry

This is a Reading List based upon a Liberty Fund Conference on “Liberty in the Poetry and Prose of John Milton.”

Liberty in the Poetry and Prose of John Milton


As John Alvis observes in his foreword to the new Liberty Fund edition of Areopagitica and Other Political Writings of John Milton, throughout his life "John Milton pursued the one paramount project of discovering ground for his love of liberty in laws of nature and of nature's God." More specifically, there is in Milton's prose and poetry alike "the unifying theme of preparing individuals to understand and cultivate that coordination of freedoms and responsibilities that Milton identified in the phrase "Christian liberty"-that is, the freedom to work out one's salvation won for all mankind by the Savior's intercession, example, and express teachings."

Guide to the Readings

Editions used:

See also in the Online Library of Liberty:

For additional reading see:

Session I: Liberty of Thought in a Commonwealth

John Milton, Areopagitica, with a Commentary by Sir Richard C. Jebb and with Supplementary Material (Cambridge at the University Press, 1918).

John Milton, The Ready and Easy Way to Establish a Free Commonwealth, edited with Introduction, Notes, and Glossary by Evert Mordecai Clark (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1915).

Session II: Milton's Argument: Satan and God's Plan

Milton, Paradise Lost

Session III: The Economy of Eden: Man and Woman Before the Fall

Milton, Paradise Lost

Session IV: Satanic Liberty: Eve's Version of Liberty and Adam's Subsequent Choice

Milton, Paradise Lost

Session V: Christian Liberty and Threats Against It

Milton, Paradise Lost

Session VI: Liberty and Satan's Temptation of Christ: Understanding the Conditions of Freedom.

Milton, Paradise Regained