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13TH ANNUAL MILTON LECTURE

Tuesday 5th March 2024, from 6pm

Milton and the English Civil Wars

Join the Friends of Milton’s Cottage for the 13th Annual Milton Lecture. Taking place at Mercers’ Hall in London, as well as online, this year’s lecture is presented by Professor Blair Worden, Emeritus Fellow of St Edmund’s Hall, Oxford. He will explore the fascinating subject of Milton’s relationship with the Civil Wars.

Milton’s career spanned the greatest political upheaval in English history, involving the trial of a king for treason, the abolition of monarchy and the House of Lords, military rule, religious upheaval and our only republican government. The ferment of ideas that accompanied these changes mark off the mid-seventeenth-century from the country’s past, which since the Norman Conquest had been marked by relative institutional and constitutional continuity.

It is impossible to separate Milton’s thought and writing from the ferment of ideas that accompanied these extraordinary events, which raised questions that no previous generation had been asked to consider. Can we chart, in Milton’s prose and verse, his responses to the convulsions of his age? This lecture will explore the course of the revolution through Milton’s eyes, and relate his writings to it.

Tickets to the talk at Mercers’ Hall cost £25 and include drinks and canapes at a reception after the lecture. They must be booked by 27th February 2024. Online tickets cost £10 and can be booked up until the morning of the lecture. All proceeds will support Milton’s Cottage – Milton’s only surviving residence – and tickets can be booked here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/13th-annual-milton-lecture-milton-and-the-civil-wars-tickets-771196077227?aff=oddtdtcreator

KATHLEEN B. JONES & NIKKI MARMERY IN CONVERSATION

Friday 8th March 2024, from 6pm

To celebrate International Women’s Day we are delighted to welcome Kathleen B. Jones and Nikki Marmery to Milton’s Cottage. In the place where Milton created his influential portrait of Eve, they will discuss their own fictional women and the ways in which they disrupt centuries of patriarchal myth-making.

In Lilith, local author Nikki Marmery introduces us to Eve’s scandalous predecessor, who refuses to submit to Adam’s will and is thrown out of paradise as a result (and so doesn’t make it onto the pages of Paradise Lost). Described by Stylist as “the heroine women have waited six thousand years for,” Marmery’s Lilith is “feisty, furious, and startlingly funny” (Naomi Kelsey).

Europe’s first professional female writer, Christine de Pizan, is at the centre of Cities of Women, the first novel by US academic Kathleen B. Jones. Her remarkable real-life story is framed by the tale of a fictional female academic researching the forgotten artist who illustrated her work. Their narratives veer between the 14th and 21st centuries to explore the lives of women who challenge the social conventions of their times.

The two authors will read and be in conversation with each other for this event, which will be available via Zoom for those who cannot join us in person. The event is free (contributions to Milton’s Cottage welcome) and tickets can be booked via Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/kathleen-b-jones-nikki-marmery-in-conversation-tickets-844856968937?aff=oddtdtcreator

Born and educated in New York City, Kathleen B. Jones taught feminist theory for twenty-four years at San Diego State University. Besides many scholarly books, she wrote two memoirs: Living Between Danger and Love, (Rutgers University Press, 2000) and the award-winning Diving for Pearls: A Thinking Journey with Hannah Arendt (Thinking Women Books, 2015). Her essays and short fiction have appeared in Fiction InternationalMr. Beller’s NeighborhoodThe Briar Cliff ReviewHumanities Magazine, and The Los Angeles Review of Books. Among numerous awards, she received multiple grants from the National Endowment of the Humanities, writers’ grants to the Vermont Studio Center, an honorary doctorate from Örebro University, Sweden, and a distinguished alumni award from CUNY Graduate Center. Cities of Women is her debut novel. She lives in Stonington CT.

Nikki Marmery is a historical novelist based in Amersham. She is fascinated by the pull of the past on the present and passionate about restoring lost voices to history through fiction. Her first novel, On Wilder Seas, was inspired by the true story of Maria, the only woman on board the Golden Hind during Francis Drake’s circumnavigation voyage in 1579. Her second novel Lilith is a retelling of the Hebrew myth of Adam’s first wife, who was expelled from the Garden of Eden for disobedience.

MILTON & LAWES: a celebration in words and music

Friday 8th March 2024, from 7.30pm

“Harry whose tuneful and well measured Song / First taught our English Music how to span”

Milton expressed his admiration for the great composer in a sonnet addressed to Mr. H. Lawes, on his Aires and had the opportunity to collaborate with him on two masques: Arcades, performed at nearby Harefield House, and Comus, performed at Ludlow Castle in 1634.

The Friends of Milton’s Cottage invite you to celebrate their creative friendship with readings from Milton’s poetry alongside examples of Lawes’ music, including the five extant songs from Comus and his popular Ariadne’s Lament,  performed by Betty Makharinsky (soprano), Kristiina Watt (lute) and Kate Conway (bass viol).

Tickets cost £25 and include drinks and canapés. All proceeds will support Milton’s Cottage and tickets can be booked online at https://www.tickettailor.com/events/friendsofmiltonscottage/1106458

We are grateful for the support of Vache Baroque in the organisation of this event and to Lady Hatch for hosting.