His travels supplemented his study with new and direct experience of artistic and religious traditions especially Roman Catholicism. Otherwise at Cambridge he developed a reputation for poetic skill and general erudition but experienced alienation from his peers and university life as a whole. His own corpus is not devoid of humour notably his sixth prolusion and his epitaphs on the death of Thomas Hobson.
). William Hayley's 1796 biography called him the "greatest English author" and he remains generally regarded "as one of the preeminent writers in the English language" though critical reception has oscillated in the centuries since his death (often on account of his republicanism). Samuel Johnson praised Paradise Lost as "a poem which.