John Milton, The Essayist



Poet and teacher Martin Crucefix responds to Milton's treatise Of Education.

Martyn Crucefix, a poet who also teaches in a secondary school, responds to Milton's treatise Of Education.

It was written in 1644, when he was engaged in an urgent debate about how the Church should be organised and how the State should be governed.

Crucefix finds that, just as more recent governments have declared, Milton believed 'education, education, education' needed to lie at the heart of this project.


Sharon Achinstein, who is editing Milton's tracts on divorce, unravels his controversial and surprisingly modern views on the subject.

In 1644, he was calling for no-fault divorce on grounds of mutual incompatibility - which the law finally allowed in 1977.

Sharon Achinstein responds to Milton's controversial tracts on divorce.


Former editor of The Independent and president of the British Board of Film Classification Andreas Whittam Smith responds to Milton's Areopagitica, a defence of the right to a free press and free thought.


Poet Tom Paulin responds to Milton's Second Defence of the English People - a response to a royalist treatise - revealing how profound was Milton's republican thinking, and how Paradise Lost is a republican as well as religious poem.

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Annabel Patterson, a professor of English at Yale University, considers the impact the poet and pamphleteer had on figures such as American presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, and the influence he still exercises in America today.