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date: 18 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article explores the language, style, and rhetoric of the three tracts – Pro populo Anglicano defensio (1651), Defensio secunda (1654), and Pro se defensio – and considers their decorums and indecorousness. It also suggests what these qualities reveal about the intentions behind these diversely flavoured works. Defensio both repudiates the accusations of Salmasius and celebrates the achievements of the English people in overthrowing tyranny and choosing liberty. Defensio secunda is a work that shirks the rigours of argument and instead offers an artful series of digressions. The rhetoric of the defences was responsive, adapting to the texts to which John Milton answered, through animadversion that was increasingly indirect in nature.

Keywords: John Milton, Pro populo Anglicano, Defensio secunda, Pro se defensio, rhetoric, defences

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