06
November
13.00-14.00
Cost: Free
Reserve >

Seeing Milton's Voice

Seeing Milton's Voice, or Illustrations to Paradise Lost; a social history of Great Britain

Lecture by Professor Howard JM Hanley, FSA

Camel Sadly, John Milton’s Paradise Lost is now a classic; the kiss of death! But not always. Quite the contrary, for Paradise Lost was in almost every English household for more than 200 years after its publication in 1667 with hundreds of editions published, at least sixty between about 1770 and 1825 alone. The publishers made Milton a Personality: a figure larger than life who fought battles for the common man and whose English prickliness acted as a bulwark against decadent, dangerously Catholic, continental Europe. To lower the bar, Milton emerged as a patron saint of marriage (despite his record on that score), and was cited as an authority on landscape gardening, cookery, astronomy and military equipment. And to lower the bar further, Paradise Lost was so well-known that John Cleland could quote from it in his lascivious, pornographic Fanny Hill.

The idea of the lecture is to show how this publication phenomenon came about and how it gave rise to an astonishing outpouring of Miltonic themes in the visual arts, of which the illustrations to Paradise Lost were a major segment. Moreover, the evolution of the illustrations’ iconography reflects a history of what people thought of themselves as society moved from the gothic age to the industrial age. The work of many artists – including Hogarth, Turner, John Martin, Fuseli, Romney and Blake - make this point.

Howard Hanley had a career as a research scientist in the United States, the Middle East and Australia. He is currently with the Research School of Physics and Engineering, at the Australian National University. His publications on JMW Turner and John Milton show his interests in social history and British art.

Image: Satan exhorting his rebel angels cast into Hell “Awake, arise, or be for ever fall’n.” (PL. I, 330).  After Richard Westall, Paradise Lost, 1794. Speaker’s copy.

Public Lecture Programme Details >

 

Subscribe to Events E-Bulletin >


Information About Booking

All lectures begin at 13.00. Doors open at 12.30 on the day of the lecture.

Our Public Lectures are free and open to the public, but space is limited and reservations are strongly recommended to avoid disappointment. To book online, simply click the 'Reserve Your Seat' button at the top or the bottom of the page.

If you have booked a place via our website, you will have received an email confirmation. If you are unsure of whether or not you have already booked, please send an email to admin@sal.org.uk and we can check our list.

If you reserve a seat (or multiple seats) in advance, but find out you cannot attend, please let us know (if possible) so that we may allow others to book.

'Sold-Out' Lectures

Our free lectures are popular and tickets do sometimes 'sell-out' in advance. Unfortunately, we are unable to manage reserve lists for fully-booked public lectures (ie, a list of names with contact details in the case of cancellations).

However, visitors are always welcome to turn up on the day of the lecture and wait to see if any seats become free due to last-minute cancellations. We can not promise to accommodate everyone, and additional seats are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. .

Late Arrivals

Please note, guests arriving after the lecture has begun may not be admitted.


Want to See More of the Society? Book a Tour!

We are now offering public tours of our Burlington House apartments. Tours are £10 per person, and visitors can enjoy a guided tour (1.5 hrs) of our apartments with collection highlights, led by Fellow Anthony Davis, a registered Westminster Guide. Booking required (as space is limited).

 

Book a Tour >