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John Milton - copyright Christ's College
Milton makes history
Four centuries, a year of exhibitions and one Paradise Lost. Cambridge University celebrates 400 years of John Milton with a series of exhibitions and events.
Living at this Hour: John Milton 1608-2008 runs until 12th July 2008, events run at Christ's College all year
John Milton is everywhere. His work has influenced the likes of J.R.R Tolkien and Philip Pullman, TV shows such as Heroes and blockbuster movies including Star Wars and Superman.
John Milton was the first writer to conceive the possibilities of space travel, and pitted good characters against evil characters, both charged with superhero powers.
Published in 1667 Paradise Lost, Milton's most renowned work, pre-empted our modern day fantasies by telling the story of the wars between heaven and hell, a battle fought across space with powers that few imaginations had dared to conceive.
While it is his sci-fi writings which spark public intrigue, Cambridge University Library and Christ's College, Milton's former place of learning, have collected the most extraordinary documents that emphasise all of his important work, including his journalism throughout the Civil War.
The University Library exhibition includes early Paradise Lost notes from 1640, early poems from the 1630s and pamphlets written arguing for the freedom of press and the right to divorce.
Milton was employed by the republican government to protect the nation from Royalist propaganda during the 1650s. Many of these documents are displayed and are poignant as they capture the time of Milton's life when he was descending into blindness.
The exhibition runs until 12th July 2008.
Meanwhile, Christ's College will be running events throughout the year. Starting with an all-year long display of the College's Milton documents including many first editions and the manuscript record of his admission in 1625.
As the year progresses make sure you look out for further events, including performances of Milton's Comus (June), an 11 hour reading of Paradise Lost (October) and music from Milton's time as well as music alongside his poetry (December).
Use the links below to read our article on John Milton, or visit the University of Cambridge website for more details on events.
Images reproduced by permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library.
last updated: 17/01/2008 at 17:10
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