Making Darkness Light is elegant, nuanced, and comprehensive. Moshenska gives us a fresh and vivid account of Milton as an individual and a poet while pushing beyond the boundaries of conventional biography. Blending the personal with the historical and the literary, the results are compelling'
Joe Moshenska's superb new biography of Milton is, like the poetry of his subject, a miracle of form, moving from moments of arresting detail to vast contemplations of time, history, and art, all set within an intimate narrative that is at once deeply embedded in its historical moment and aware of how that history connects through other moments to the present. The result is a stirring and compelling account of how great poetry gets written and gets read
Moshenska has written a new kind of literary biography. At once glancingly a memoir, a rivetingly informative biography, and a fascinating reading of Milton as poet, scholar and ordinary man in his everyday life, Making Darkness Light is an illumination. Milton and everything and everybody around him are seen in a quite different, intriguing light.
Joe Moshenska is professionally committed to creating a readership for Milton among those for whom Genesis, Virgil, Homer and Tasso are closed books . . . A great imaginative exercise . . . His sympathetic yet challenging account will undoubtedly win Milton new readers - and for that a chorus of Hallelujahs
Strikingly original . . . a poetic tour of 17th-century England . . . Literature lovers of all sorts will find something to savor here
Oxford literature professor Moshenska takes a fresh perspective on John Milton (1608-1674), the art of biography, and the experience of reading . . . An inspired biographical and autobiographical journey
Making Darkness Light is unlike any book on Milton I have ever read. It is often densely erudite, but also richly inventive . . . [its] avoidance of easy certainties is typical of this subtle, challenging book
Joe Moshenska . . . is astute in placing music, especially rhythm (a word neither Milton nor Shakespeare used) and its visceral relationship to the body, at the root of this original, penetrating, cleverly constructed and occasionally frustrating biography
Tantalisingly different and new...an extraordinary, seductive work of intellectual imagination
Moshenska . . . brings his own experiences into this searching creative portrait of the visionary English poet. The book . . . comes alive in its alert close readings
Making Darkness Light is not a conventional biography . . . despite the ambitious and demanding nature of his project, Moshenska writes with humility and agility
Of course, anyone looking for a deeper understanding of the facts of Milton's life and the context for his poetry will certainly find what they're looking for here. Making Darkness Light includes not only moments in Milton's life and the landscape of 17th century England as well as close readings of his work. But it's the exploration of what the author describes as one of Milton's deepest occupations, "the place of literature in a life," that sets the book apart. Moshenska has no aspirations to separate the biographer from the biography, and Making Darkness Light is richer for his presence throughout the book
Moshenska knows his way around Milton's world... Making Darkness Light privileges us with a peek inside its author's mind in contemplation of such a life and makes a compelling case that it could be told in no other way