Paradise Lost by John Milton (Penguin)

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.

From AudioFile

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.

On Goodreads.com

Paradise Lost
by John Milton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paradise-Lost-Kerrigan.jpgMilton 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.

Flat-Fleuron

You can find more reviews and discussions of this and many other books on Goodreads.com (including my own reviews and comments about this and other books). It’s one of my favorite sites to help me organize my own reading and keep up with others. When you’re on Goodreads, please visit my author page and “Like” The Soul of Atlas. Consider writing a review and sharing it with your friends on Goodreads and Facebook.com.

 

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For the New Intellectual (New York: Signet, 1963)

This is one of my favorite Ayn Rand books to recommend to people unfamiliar with her writing. It’s short and it contains her hand-picked excerpts from her fiction that illustrate aspects of her philosophy, Objectivism. Her introductory essay is equally representative.

Description

This is Ayn Rand‘s challenge to the prevalent philosophical doctrines of our time and the “atmosphere of guilt, of panic, of despair, of boredom, and of all-pervasive evasion” that they create. One of the most controversial figures on the intellectual scene, Ayn Rand was the proponent of a moral philosophy–and ethic of rational self-interest–that stands in sharp opposition to the ethics of altruism and self-sacrifice. The fundamentals of this morality–“a philosophy for living on Earth”–are here vibrantly set forth by the spokesman for a new class, For the New Intellectual.

 

From AynRand.org

Following the publication of Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand transitioned to writing nonfiction philosophical works. The first book she published was For the New Intellectual, a collection of the philosophic speeches from her novels. The book begins with a lengthy essay in which Rand argues that America and Western civilization are in desperate need of a new philosophy and new intellectuals.

Rand viewed the book as a “cultural commercial” for her novels, which would stimulate sales of the newly released paperback editions of Atlas Shrugged and her first novel, We the Living. For the New Intellectual has sold over 1 million copies.

Random Amazon Reviewer

After I had read For the the Intellectual, I found myself craving to find more knowledge of her philosophy, I saw in a wonderfully flowing style the actual points of Ayn Rand’s philosophy. Unlike many of those who read this book (probably only the portions they needed to convince themselves of this author’s psychosis) and posted their reviews, I was not revolted by these words. I have seen these things around me all my life, and if Ayn Rand had not published her philosophy, I surely would have published something very similar eventually. It seems to me that the people who are turned away by this book are the people that take the most benefit from the current moral scheme. The people who are the fanatic crazy types about this philosophy are the one’s who have been drained of their entire essence and wish to unlock their inner capabilities. If you wish to simply be able to live fully, fully for yourself, and wish to use YOUR potential to the fullest extent, then I suggest you read this stunning piece of work. And please take not that it is philosophy, and not an exact account of history

Fleuron

On Goodreads.com

For the New Intellectual: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand by Ayn Rand
My rating: 5 of 5 starsFor the New Intellectual: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand

Rand has carefully chosen passages in her fiction which illustrate key concepts in her philosophy. In this short collection, Rand introduces passages from We The Living, Anthem, The Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged. The opening chapter is a compelling essay outlining the philosophical struggle between those who support her philosophical conclusions and forces in our culture which contradict the truths she resolutely defends.
I recommend this work for readers who are unfamiliar with Rand’s writing and would like to understand her better before committing to her larger works.

TSOA Front Cover 150 x 150You can find more reviews and discussions of this and many other books on Goodreads.com (including my own reviews and comments about this and other books). It’s one of my favorite sites to help me organize my own reading and keep up with others. When you’re on Goodreads, please visit my author page and “Like” The Soul of Atlas. Consider writing a review and sharing it with your friends on Goodreads and Facebook.com.

Fleuron