Considered the most significant author after William Shakespeare, John Milton was born on December 9, 1608. He is a noted historian and poet of all times, best known for his epic, Paradise Lost. Together with Paradise Regained, it formed his reputation as one of the greatest English writers. In his prose works he advocated the abolition of the Church of England. His influence extended through the English civil wars and also to the American and French revolutions. He graduated from Cambridge and later studied independently.
Milton was a Puritan who believed in the authority of the Bible, and opposed religious institutions like the Church of England, and the monarchy, with which it was entwined. In 1667, he published Paradise Lost in 10 volumes. The free-verse poem tells the story of how Satan tempted Adam and Eve, and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. In 1671, he published Paradise Regained, in which Jesus overcomes Satan’s temptations, and Samson Agonistes, in which Samson first succumbs to temptation and then redeems himself. A revised, 12-volume version of Paradise Lost was published in 1674.
John Milton died in England on November 8, 1674.