1st Edition

Dante, Michelangelo and Milton

By John Arthos Copyright 1963

    Originally published in 1963, this is a study of the greatness of Dante, Michelangelo and Milton, and of the differences in the power and effect of their work. This book shows how differing philosophical commitments help explain differences in the character of their greatness. The ancient treatise On the Sublime provides the starting point for these studies and in an introductory essay the author examines Longinus’ obligations to Platonic and Stoic philosophy. In the essays which relate the critical doctrines of Dante, Michelangelo and Milton to philosophy, he shows how far their thought accords with Longinus’ and to what degree they depend upon the same philosophic traditions. The final emphasis, however, is upon the relation of their ideas to the distinctive elements of their greatness.

    1.Longinus and the Sublime 2. Dante 3. Michelangelo 4. Milton.


    John Arthos was a Russel Lecturer and the Hereward T. Price Distinguished University Professor of English at the University of Michigan. In adopting his retirement memoir in 1979, the Regents noted that Arthos’ 'many books and articles range over several periods of English, American and continental literature. His major interest, however, was in the Renaissance, and then in the major figures of the Renaissance...Using his wide range of knowledge of languages and literature, he has made enduring contributions to our knowledge and understanding of what was a European, not just an English movement. No scholar has better understood, more clearly interpreted, or more deeply applied in his own thinking and teaching, the humanistic spirit which informed this important period in the history of literature.

    Original Review of Dante, Michelangelo and Milton:

    ‘The essay on Milton, which runs to twenty-five pages, will, however, be found particularly valuable for this purpose. By directing the reader's attention to Milton's sense of sublimity it suggests a possible attitude to the poem.’   J. B. Beer, The Modern Language Review, Vol 60 No. 4.