"John Milton - heretic, defender of the Cromwellian regicides, epic poet - holds a crucial strategic position on the intellectual and ideological map of literary studies. In this provocative and liberating study, John P. Rumrich contends that contemporary critics, despite differences in methodology, have contributed to the invention of a monolithic or institutional Milton as censorious preacher, aggressive misogynist, and champion of the emerging bourgeoisie. Rumrich reveals the pressures that have shaped this current critical orthodoxy, and exposes the historical inaccuracies and logical inconsistencies that sustain it. Through analysis of Milton's poetry and prose, and consideration of the historical forces that informed Milton's writing, Rumrich argues instead for a more complex Milton who was able to accommodate uncertainty and doubt."--BOOK JACKET.