|Features of the book include:
- gathers best essays from 22 years and scattered journals
- updates and contextualizes each essay
- tells the story of a rare interpretative approach
- combines scholarship with critique throughout
- closes with three new essays on the controversial De Doctrina Christiana
From the Introduction:
- Milton as Multilingual uncovers a whole dimension of Milton which is largely hidden and which we lack to our detriment: a thinking, feeling author, writing and speaking passionately and eloquently on a range of subjects in a variety of genres, styles and languages.
- We cannot become instant linguists, but John Hale helps us, as no other scholar today can, to gain access to this Milton.
- This is done in an eminently reader-friendly fashionin unfailingly lucid prose, with the help of translation and without condescension.
From the Book:
- On Milton's ode-writing: Milton's lifelong meditation on the ode and Pindaric issued in Samson's very surprising late flowerings.
- On his translating: at the best, he translates in order to make the work of some great predecessor into his own possession, and even to bring into vigorous life something that is only his to say.
- On the style of De Doctrina: If it is the badge of a scholastic theologian to escape trouble by shouting 'Distinguo!', it is our author's distinctive speech-act to delimit, by imposing a 'duntaxat.'
- On his multilingualism: Without continual and varied use of languages and texts other than English, he would scarcely have known what he thought about anything, or have understood himself and his aims.