"he made a happy switch from Washington Irving to John Milton"

The English poet and essayist John Milton
Public DomainThe English poet and essayist John Milton
Renaissance English poet and essayist John Milton (1608-1674) is remembered most for his epic poem about the fall of Man, “Paradise Lost.” Like Washington Irving, Major Major’s decision to forge Milton’s name on correspondence as a change of pace is entirely arbitrary as far as context and meaning. However, as the narrator explains, the usual criteria that underlie so many other military decisions in the book -- expediency, simplicity, flexibility -- apply here, at least in Major Major’s thinking.