This study offers an original exploration of Milton's relationship to the seventeenth-century book trade. Critics have often assumed that Milton presided over all stages of his texts' creation, and little has been said about his dependence on other people for producing his works. Examining Milton's changing historical circumstances with special attention to his texts' material production, Stephen B. Dobranski shows in a series of provocative and original case studies that Milton benefited from a collaborative process of writing and publishing. He worked with amanuenses, acquaintances, printers and publishers, often in dramatic and surprising ways: paradoxically, Milton's implied persona of the independent, even isolated, poet required the cooperation of these various individuals. With the attentiveness of textual scholarship and booktrade history to the material forms of publication, Dobranski offers fresh insight into the practice of authorship and the meaning of Milton's works.
"This groundbreaking study argues convincingly that Milton was not the cloistered genius, independently determining the appearance and internal ordering of his published work, often portrayed by scholars." Choice "Professor Dobranski's book is a fine example of the bibliographic work which is currently being done by scholars on Renaissance authors...this is a book that helps us understand a great deal more about the material circumstances within which a great poet worked." Sixteenth Century Journal