Printing in Milton’s Time-The Literature of Controversy

A significant agent in the creation of the ‘public sphere’ was the introduction of printing and pamphlet culture. This was ultimately due to the wealth of information EVERYONE could engage in starting in 1640’s, voices once invisible finally able to be heard, ultimately the public against that of the parliament, often materializing in politcal and religious movements, and¬†people able to explore the self in relation to God with the decreased reliance on scripture. Challenging the authority with intimate knowledge and intellectual apparatus now public, it created a chance for false truths, suspicions and a great chance for anxiety.¬† Nonetheless, it supported/advanced the idea that readership is for everyone. Milton, regardless of all that came from printing, good or bad, was interested in truth. People who didn’t want this honesty didn’t win, such as the Parliament, as the doors were already opened.Tying together polemic, scolorship, and philosophical reflection, and observing the boundaries of debate, Milton focused on reason attached to eloquent arguments, rather than reserved speech. Recognizing that the ‘public sphere’ was now a prominent part of culture, he rode along the theme of honesty and only spoke the truth, sometimes harsh truth. However, it was hard for many people to believe Milton as he was ingenuine in his arguments with the rhetorical flair. This presented a conflict. Milton adamently believed that the entire public should read and benefit from his works, as he believed everybody equally capable as human beings, but with the level of his writing, super-eloquent and satirical, there was an expectency that all his readers were as ‘learned’ as he–with the prose of brilliant rhythm, elaborate and dense rhetrorical devices, and sinewy metaphors that only the highly educated could bear meaning from. Despite the lack of audience approval, he stuck with his belief that the best means of persuasion was reason mixed with ‘coersive eloquence.’ There were differing views on honesty at the time in this new ‘public sphere,’ as many people believed there was no such text with the wholehearted truth, and that one can come to more truth by seeing falsehood. Ultimately, the truth stirring with lie in this new public sphere, mostly due to pamphlet culture, allowed for a form of healthy dialogue with the voice and opinion from people looking outside of what they only once knew in their private lives.