In Paradise Lost, Milton produced a poem of epic scale, conjuring up a vast, awe-inspiring cosmos and ranging across huge tracts of space and time. And yet, in putting a charismatic Satan and naked Adam and Eve at the center of this story, he also created an intensely human tragedy on the Fall of Man.
John Leonard’s revised edition of Paradise Lost contains full notes, elucidating Milton’s biblical, classical and historical allusions and discussing his vivid, highly original use of language and blank verse.
From the Publisher
This is the first fully-annotated, old-spelling edition of Paradise Lost to be published in this century. It surveys in its introduction and incorporates in its notes the large amount of criticism published between 1965 and the present–not to mention the criticism that began with Dryden, Addison, Samuel Johnson, and William Blake–and it reflects critical perspectives from New Criticism to Deconstruction, from Philology to New Historicism and Feminism. On the page, the book combines the look and feel of original editions with the convenience of wide margins and thorough annotation.
Edith Hamilton retells the Greek, Roman, and Norse myths with a sure taste and scholarship that help to restore their quality as perennial and refreshing fables about human nature, including our own.
About the Author
John Milton was born in London on December 9, 1608, and studied at the University of Cambridge. He originally planned to become a clergyman, but abandoned those ambitions to become a poet. Political in his writings, he served a government post during the time of the Commonwealth. In 1651, he went completely blind but he continued to write, finishing Paradise Lost in 1667, and Paradise Regained in 1671. He died in 1674.
Milton is a brilliant genius. He does no injustice to the biblical text, but he does color it nicely. He draws in the reader who may not otherwise be drawn in to the sacred text and he inspired me to nurture the longing in my soul for God. I found Paradise Lost to be rich with imagery and imagination. I am challenged by his many references to Greek mythology, science, and his far-reaching view of the world. A couple of highlights for me: 1) scenes of the angels worshiping God in Book III, 2) the description of the Son volunteering to rescue the future, yet to be created race through his own sacrifice [Book VII], 3) Milton’s description of the Son descending to vanquish Satan from Heaven, and 4) descriptions of innocence. I appreciated Milton’s portrayal of Satan, but I don’t see Satan as a tragic hero, as that would aggrandize him more than Milton intended IMHO. I recommend Paradise Lost to any serious reader of literature.