The Critical Response to John Milton's Paradise Lost

Overview

Paradise Lost was recognized as a major epic poem soon after its publication in 1667. For more than three centuries, critics have been describing, interpreting, and evaluating it. Regardless of their approaches to changing literary values, they have generally accepted it as the prime example of the epic in English. As many critics have observed, the poem brought biblical, literary, cultural, social, scientific, and political elements into such aesthetic harmony that even its detractors have been forced to ...

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Overview

Paradise Lost was recognized as a major epic poem soon after its publication in 1667. For more than three centuries, critics have been describing, interpreting, and evaluating it. Regardless of their approaches to changing literary values, they have generally accepted it as the prime example of the epic in English. As many critics have observed, the poem brought biblical, literary, cultural, social, scientific, and political elements into such aesthetic harmony that even its detractors have been forced to recognize its greatness. And because of its complexity, it has become a test case in literary studies as a focal point for changing critical assumptions and literary values. This reference book traces the critical reception of Paradise Lost from the 17th century to the present. The volume is organized in chapters devoted to particular centuries, with each chapter presenting a selection of reviews and critical essays from that period. Thus the reader is able to chart the changing response to Paradise Lost over time. An introductory essay summarizes the reception of Milton's work, and a bibliography lists important sources of additional information.

The volume is organized in chapters devoted to particular centuries. Each chapter then presents a selection of reviews and critical essays from that period. Thus the reader is able to read the 17th-century responses of Samuel Barrow, John Dryden, and Joseph Addison; the 18th-century reactions of Alexander Pope, Samuel Johnson, and William Blake; the 19th-century reactions of British Romantic and Victorian poets; and the 20th-century contributions of major scholars such as E.M.W. Tillyard, Stanley Fish, Louis Martz, and Northrop Frye. The volume closes with a sampling of Milton's own comments about Paradise Lost and the epic, and a selected bibliography of major editions, reference works, and critical studies.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Traces critical reception of the epic poem from the 17th century to the present, with sections organized by century. After an introductory overview on background of the poem and its critical reception, sections present brief and longer excerpts from critical materials from each century. For students and scholars of English literature. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

TIMOTHY C. MILLER is Professor of English at Millersville University, where he teaches courses in English Renaissance literature.

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Table of Contents

Series Foreword by Cameron Northouse

Introduction

Seventeenth-Century Critical Responses

"The Verse" by John Milton

The Transproser Rehears'd: or the Fifth Act of Mr. Bayes's Play by [Richard Leigh]

"On the Paradise Lost of the Top Poet John Milton" by Samuel Barrow

"On Paradise Lost" by Andrew Marvell

Theatrum Poetarum, or a Compleat Collection of the Poets... by Edward Phillips

"The Authors Apology for Heroique Poetry; and Poetique Licence." The State of Innocence, and Fall of Man: An Opera by John Dryden

The Life of Milton by John Aubrey

"An Essay of blanc Verse out of the 6th. Book of Paradise lost" by Wentworth Dillon, Earl of Roscommon

"Preface." Sylvae: or, the Second Part of Poetical Miscellanies by John Dryden

The Lives of the most Famous English Poets... by William Winstanley

"Epigram" by John Dryden

"Preface." The Passion of Byblis, Made "English" by [John] Dennis

"Dedication." The Satires of Decimus Junius Juvenalis... by John Dryden

"An Account of the Greatest English Poets." The Annual Miscellany: For the Year 1694... by Joseph Addison

"To Mr. T.S. in Vindication of Mr. Milton's Paradise lost." Miscellaneous Letters and Essays... by [Charles Gildon]

Letters of State, Written by Mr. John Milton... by [Edward Phillips]

"The Preface, Being an Essay on Heroic-Poetry." The Life of Our Blessed Lord & Saviour Jesus Christ... by Samuel Wesley

Annotations of Milton's "Paradise Lost"... by P[atrick] H[ume]

Remarks on a Book entituled, "Prince Arthur: An Heroick Poem" by [John] Dennis

"The Preface." The History of Sin and Heresie Attempted... by [Charles Leslie]

The Life of John Milton... by [JohnToland]

Eighteenth-Century Critical Responses

"Preface." Fables Ancient and Modern by John Dryden

The Advancement and Reformation of Modern Poetry by John Dennis

The Grounds of Criticism in Poetry by John Dennis

"Preface." Britannia Trimphans by John Dennis

The Spectator, Numbers 262, 267, 273, 279, 285, 291, 297 by Joseph Addison

The History of the Life of Thomas Ellwood... by Thomas Ellwood

An Essay Upon the Civil Wars of France...And also Upon the Epick Poetry of the European Nations... by Francois-Marie Arouet de Voltaire

Explanatory Notes and Remarks on Milton's "Paradise Lost" by Jonathan Richardson, Father and Son

"Epistle I of Horace" by Alexander Pope

The Divine Legation of Moses Demonstrated by William Warburton

A Philosophical Inquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful by Edmund Burke

The Lives of the English Poets by Samuel Johnson

Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres by Hugh Blair

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell by William Blake

The Life of Milton, in Three Parts... by William Hayley

"Conjectures on the Origin of 'Paradise Lost'." The Life of John Milton, in Three Parts... by William Hayley

Nineteenth-Century Critical Responses

The Poetical Works of John Milton... by Henry John Todd

"London, 1802" by William Wordsworth

"Milton." by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

"Lecture III. On Shakespeare and Milton" by William Hazlitt

["Notes on Milton's 'Paradise Lost'"] by John Keats

Personal Letters by John Keats

"On the Devil, and Devils" by Percy Bysshe Shelley

A Defence of Poetry by Percy Bysshe Shelley

"Milton" by Thomas Babington Macaulay

"Dr. Samuel Parr..." by Thomas De Quincey

"Table Talk," September 4, 1833 by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley

"Oxford" by Thomas De Quincey

"Milton" by [Ralph Waldo Emerson]

"Southey and Landor." Imaginary Conversations by Walter Savage Landor

"Milton verses Southey and Landor" by Thomas De Quincey

"The Poetry of Pope" by Thomas De Quincey

"Milton Alcaics by Alfred Lord Tennyson

History of English Literature by H. A. Taine

"John Milton." Literary Studies by Walter Bagehot

The Life of John Milton by David Masson

Milton by Mark Pattison

"Milton." Essays in Criticism by Matthew Arnold

The Complete Poetical Works of John Milton by William Vaughn Moody

Twentieth-Century Critical Responses

Milton by Sir Walter Raleigh

Milton's Astronomy: The Astronomy of "Paradise Lost" by Thomas N. Orchard

"Milton and the Return to Humanism" by James Holly Hanford

The Epic: An Essay by Lascelles Abercrombie

Milton by E. M. W. Tillyard

"Milton and the Telescope" by Marjorie Nicolson

Revaluation: Tradition & Development in English Poetry by F.R. Leavis

A Preface to "Paradise Lost" by C. S. Lewis

"Paradise Lost" in Our Time by Douglas Bush

"Paradise Lost" and its Critics by A. J. A. Waldock

Poets of the English Language by W. H. Auden and Norman Holmes Pearson

Answerable Style: Essays on "Paradise Lost" by Arnold Stein

Milton and Science by Kester Svendsen

Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays by Northrop Frye

Romantic Image by Frank Kermode

"Paradise Lost" as Myth by Isabel Gamble MacCaffrey

English Literature in the Earlier Seventeenth Century 1600-1660 by Douglas Bush

The Muse's Method: An Introduction to "Paradise Lost" by Joseph H. Summers

Milton and the Christian Tradition by C.A. Patrides

Milton: A Biography by William Riley Parker

Discovery as Form in "Paradise Lost" by Stanley Eugene Fish

Asimov's Annotated "Paradise Lost" by Isaac Asimov

Milton's Eve by Diane Kelsey McColley

Milton: Poet of Exile by Louis L. Martz

"How Deconstruction Works" by J. Hillis Miller

A History of English Literature by Alastair Fowler

"Radical Christian Humanism in Paradise Lost" by Joan S. Bennett

"John Milton and Raymond Williams: Dominant, Residual, Emergent, Immanent" by Keith W. F. Stavely

Autobiographical Selections

The Reason of Church Government Urged Against the Prelaty

An Apology for Smectymnuus

Selected Bibliography

Index

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