Thursday, April 22, 2010

One of Milton's Sources of Knowledge of the World

According to Verity, Milton relied heavily for his knowledge of geography upon Peter Heylyn, who wrote Microcosmos: a Little Description of the Great World. in 1621.  It was later expanded to become the  Cosmographie of 1657.

From WP:
At college, where he was dubbed 'the perpetual dictator’, Heylin had been an ouspoken controversialist. He subsequently became an outspoken preacher and one of Charles I's clerical followers. He was a prolific writer, and a keen and acrimonious controversialist against the Puritans. Among his works are a History of the Reformation, and a Life of Archbishop William Laud(Cyprianus Anglicanus) (1668).
He was the writer of the "Cosmographie", an attempt to describe in meticulous detail every aspect of the known world in 1652, the geography, climate, customs, achievements, politics, and belief systems. It appears to have been the first description in print of Australia, and perhaps of California, Terra del Fuego, and other territories in the New World. He objected to the name "America" as it placed undue glory on Amerigo Vespucci, and recommended "Columbana" or "Cabotia" as more indicative of the true discoverers, Columbus and Cabot.

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