Mammon’s Music: Literature and Economics in the Age of Milton

2002
Author(s)
Publisher
Yale University Press
Mammon’s Music: Literature and Economics in the Age of Milton

The commercial revolution of the seventeenth century deeply changed English culture. In this ambitious book, Blair Hoxby explores what that economic transformation meant to the century’s greatest poet, John Milton, and to the broader literary tradition in which he worked. Hoxby places Milton’s work—as well as the writings of contemporary reformers like the Levellers, poets like John Dryden, and political economists like Sir William Petty—within the framework of England’s economic history between 1601 and 1724. Literary history swerved in this period, Hoxby demonstrates, as a burgeoning economic discourse pressed authors to reimagine ideas about self, community, and empire. Hoxby shows that, contrary to commonly held views, Milton was a sophisticated economic thinker. Close readings of Milton’s prose and verse reveal the importance of economic ideas in a wide range of his most famous writings, from Areopagitica to Samson Agonistes to Paradise Lost. 

About the Author

Blair Hoxby writes on the literature and culture of England, France, Italy, and Spain from 1500 to 1800.  His recent research has focused on the theory and practice of tragedy during that period – which differed sharply from the idea of tragedy that most of us now take for granted.  He also writes on the poetry and prose of John Milton, John Dryden, and their Augustan heirs.  He teaches English poetry from the Renaissance to Romanticism, tragedy and tragic theory from Aristotle to the present, theater history, and performance theory.

He is the author of What Was Tragedy? Theory and the Early Modern Canon (Oxford: OUP, 2015) and Mammon’s Music: Literature and Economics in the Age of Milton (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002).  He is the editor of Milton in the Long Restoration (Oxford: OUP, May 2016), a collection of twenty-nine original essays that analyze the way authors writing from 1650 to 1750 interpreted, imitated, and parodied Milton.

Recent selected articles include:

■ “Technologies of Performance,” in A Cultural History of Theatre, ed. Chris and Tracy Davis.  Vol 3, The Renaissance, ed. Robert Henke.  London: Bloomsbury Academic, forthcoming 2017.

■ Politics and Aesthetics in European Baroque and Classicist Tragedy, ed. Jan Bloemendal and Nigel Smith.  Leiden: Brill, forthcoming.

■ “The Richardsons, the Sublime, and the Invention of Aesthetic Theory,” in  Milton in the Long Restoration, ed. with Ann Baynes Coiro.  Oxford: OUP, forthcoming May 2016.

■ “Passions,” in 21st-Century Approaches: Early Modern Theatricality, ed. Henry Turner.  New York: OUP, 2013.

■ “What Was Tragedy?  The World We Have Lost, 1550-1795,” Comparative Literature 64 (2012):  1-32.

■ “Allegorical Drama,” in The Cambridge Companion to Allegory, ed. Rita Copeland and Peter Struck. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

■ “The Function of Allegory in Baroque Tragic Drama: What Benjamin Got Wrong,” in Thinking Allegory Otherwise, ed. Brenda Machowsky.  Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2009.

■ "Areopagitica and Liberty," in The Oxford Handbook of Milton, ed. Nicholas McDowell and Nigel Smith. Oxford: OUP, 2009.

■ "All Passion Spent: The Means and Ends of a Tragédie en Musique," Comparative Literature 59 (2007): 33-62.

■ "The Wisdom of Their Feet: Meaningful Dance in Milton and the Stuart Masque," English Literary Renaissance 37.1 (2007): 74-99.