This Day In Crime History

August 27, 1660: English Writer John Milton's Books Burned

A warrant was also issued for Milton’s arrest, causing him to go into hiding.

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On August 27, 1660, books of English writer John Milton were burned. Milton wrote prose and poetry, often focusing on freedom and politics, during a time of serious political upheaval. That year marked the start of the English Restoration, a time of a major political change, when the monarchy went back into effect as Charles II took over the country. A warrant was issued for Milton’s arrest causing him to go into hiding until a general pardon was issued. He lived, but many of his writings did not. Milton served some time for his political writings. He later penned "Paradise Lost," his most famous poem, which reportedly is about his time as a persecuted author.

On August 27, 1938, more papers were burned. This time it was a famous writer who ignited the fire. Poet Robert Frost, perhaps most famous for "The Road Not Taken," began heckling fellow poet Archibald MacLeish during a writers’ conference in Vermont. He set a small fire in the back of the room during MacLeish’s reading. Frost was allegedly jealous of the attention that MacLeish was receiving. Frost even went to far as to publicly mock his peer’s writing skills during the same reading.


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