|“Ex Nihilo” or “Out of Nothing” by the Frederick Hart.|
If we’ve failed to fulfill Orson F. Whitney’s prophecy that “We will yet have Shakespeares and Miltons of our own,” well, as Hugh Nibley pointed out, England in its thousand-odd year history has scarcely produced one of each.While innovative literature, a designation I presume Milton's work justly deserves, is essentially "ahead of it's time," it's also unavoidably a product of it's time. Neither we nor our works are created ex nihilo.
Beyond the obvious impact of preceding epics and the then-fresh literary heritage of the Renaissance, I expect that Milton's relationships with his family - including his parents, siblings, wives, and children - and with prominent political figures of the day will be manifest as he explores elements of love, power, and atonement in Paradise Lost.
One of the things I'm most interested to discover is how his marriages might have influenced his view of women, and how Adam and Eve's relationship may reflect the marital happiness and struggles Milton experienced himself.