The Audiences of Milton's Italian Verse
There are at least four audiences for Milton's Italian poems: addressees within the poems; the Italian language community; the English language community; and Milton himself. The second of these may hold the greatest interest, but the fourth is of greater significance in that it shows the poet's early experimenting with a multilingual high style. This essay examines the dating (1629–1630), place and subject of the six poems, and the different audiences within them. The six experiments can be seen as a step on the way to another ‘stil nuovo’, and their ultimate audience is Milton's idea of Dante.