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The University of Southampton
Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Culture

Milton in the Bishop's Kitchen: Domestic Narratives in the Anti-Prelatical Prose Seminar

Kitchen Scene
21 November 2016
Avenue Campus, Room 65/1143. All welcome, refreshments provided.

For more information regarding this seminar, please email Anthony Ossa-Richardson at .

Event details

Home, as a space and as an idea, straddled the public-private and personal-political divides in seventeenth-century England. Households were considered the basic units of social order; weighty domestic conduct manuals proliferated as never before or since; and patriarchal theory embedded household imagery in political debates. For Milton, writing on divorce as well as regicide, the subject was inescapable. Further, his investment in the ‘ethos argument’—the idea that a man’s public credibility rested on the effective performance of his private, and particularly his household, duties, placed his own domesticity, and that of his opponents, at the centre of his political prose. In this talk, I will show first, how domestic spaces—kitchens, chambers, garrets and others—provide the unexpected, and unexpectedly tense, settings for the confrontations of Milton’s most aggressive polemical writing; and secondly, that by using the imagery of the home in this way, Milton inserts a submerged narrative into his early prose that maps out a kind of pre-Habermasian public sphere, and prefigures his later republicanism.

Speaker information

Dr Zoe Hawkins , University of Southampton. Joined English at Southampton in 2016, having previously taught at the University of Exeter, Blackfriars Hall (Oxford), and University College London (UCL). It was also at UCL that I studied for my BA, MA, and PhD.

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