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Paradise Lost

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Milton's Paradise Lost is one of the greatest epic poems in the English language. It tells the story of the Fall of Man, a tale of immense drama and excitement, of rebellion and treachery, of innocence pitted against corruption, in which God and Satan fight a bitter battle for control of mankind's destiny. The struggle rages across three worlds - heaven, hell, and earth - as Satan and his band of rebel angels plot their revenge against God. At the center of the conflict are Adam and Eve, motivated by all too ...

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Paradise Lost

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Overview

Milton's Paradise Lost is one of the greatest epic poems in the English language. It tells the story of the Fall of Man, a tale of immense drama and excitement, of rebellion and treachery, of innocence pitted against corruption, in which God and Satan fight a bitter battle for control of mankind's destiny. The struggle rages across three worlds - heaven, hell, and earth - as Satan and his band of rebel angels plot their revenge against God. At the center of the conflict are Adam and Eve, motivated by all too human temptations, but whose ultimate downfall is unyielding love.

Marked by Milton's characteristic erudition is a work epic both in scale and, notoriously, in ambition. For nearly 350 years it has held generation upon generation of scholars, students and readers in rapt attention and its profound influence can be seen in almost every corner of Western culture.

Milton tells the story of Man's creation, fall and redemption--to "justify the ways of God to men." 3 cassettes.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Even a dozen critical essays, representative of the postmodern wave that has largely displaced liberal humanism in English studies in the years in which they were written (1970-96), do not dethrone Satan as the flawed hero of Milton's masterwork. Contributors vivisect, yet manage to convey, the contemporary relevance of the seminal 17th century epic poem with interpretations from Marxist/ historicist, feminist, psychoanalytic, and poststructuralist approaches. The editor provides a concisely informative introduction to the English Revolution and modern contexts for deconstructing . Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknew.com)
From the Publisher
“A welcome complement to the large and growing collection of fine modernized texts of Milton’s poetry and prose currently in print.” (Studies in English Literature, Winter 2008)

"[The book] prints its notes on the same page as the text - and thus makes them easily accessible. Its readable typeface makes it the best of the old-spelling editions currently available. It scrupulously adheres to the originally published forms of the language wherever possible." (Times Literary Supplement, December 2008)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556859885
  • Publisher: Audio Book Contractors, LLC
  • Publication date: 1/1/2008
  • Format: CD

Meet the Author

John Milton (1608-1674) was an English poet, best known for his epic poem Paradise Lost, which first appeared in 1667, having been completely written, and dictated, while he was blind. His works continue to influence Western culture, thought and language.
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Read an Excerpt

PARADISE LOST the printer to the reader

Courteous Reader, there was no argument at first intended to the book, but for the satisfaction of many that have desired it, I have procured it, and withal a reason of that which stumbled many others, why the poem rhymes not. S. Simmons

The Verse

The measure is English heroic verse without rhyme, as that of Homer in Greek, and of Vergil in Latin; rhyme being no necessary adjunct or true ornament of poem or good verse, in longer works especially, but the invention of a barbarous age, to set off wretched matter and lame meter; graced indeed since by the use of some famous modern poets, carried away by custom, but much to their own vexation, hindrance, and constraint to express many things otherwise, and for the most part worse than else they would have expressed them. Not without cause therefore some both Italian and Spanish poets of prime note have rejected rhyme both in longer and shorter works, as have also long since our best English tragedies, as a thing of itself, to all judicious ears, trivial and of no true musical delight; which consists only in apt numbers, fit quantity of syllables, and the sense variously drawn out from one verse into another, not in the jingling sound of like endings, a fault avoided by the learned ancients both in poetry and all good oratory.

1. The defense of blank verse and the prose arguments summarizing each book “procured” by Milton’s printer, Samuel Simmons, were inserted in bound copies of the first edition beginning in 1668, with this brief note.

This neglect then of rhyme so little is to be taken for a defect, though it may seem so perhaps to vulgar readers, that it rather is to be esteemed an example set, the first in English, of ancient liberty recovered to heroic poem from the troublesome and modern bondage of rhyming.

Book I The Argument

This first book proposes, first in brief, the whole subject, man’s disobedience, and the loss thereupon of Paradise wherein he was placed: then touches the prime cause of his fall, the serpent, or rather Satan in the serpent, who revolting from God, and drawing to his side many legions of angels, was by the command of God driven out of Heaven with all his crew into the great deep. Which action passed over, the poem hastes into the midst of things, presenting Satan with his angels now fallen into Hell, described here, not in the center (for heaven and earth may be supposed as yet not made, certainly not yet accursed) but in a place of utter darkness, fitliest called Chaos. Here Satan with his angels lying on the burning lake, thunder-struck and astonished, after a certain space recovers, as from confusion, calls up him who next in order and dignity lay by him. They confer of their miserable fall. Satan awakens all his legions, who lay till then in the same manner confounded; they rise, their numbers, array of battle, their chief leaders named, according to the idols known afterwards in Canaan and the countries adjoining. To these Satan directs his speech, comforts them with hope yet of regaining Heaven, but tells them lastly of a new world and new kind of creature to be created, according to an ancient prophecy or report in Heaven; for that angels were long before this visible creation was the opinion of many ancient Fathers. To find out the truth of this prophecy, and what to determine thereon, he refers to a full council. What his associates thence attempt. Pandaemonium the palace of Satan rises, suddenly built out of the deep. The infernal peers there sit in council.

Of man’s first disobedience, and the fruit

Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste

Brought death into the world, and all our woe,

With loss of Eden, till one greater man

Restore us, and regain the blissful seat,

Sing Heav’nly Muse, that on the secret top

Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire

That shepherd, who first taught the chosen seed,

In the beginning how the heavens and earth

Rose out of Chaos: or if Sion hill

Delight thee more, and Siloa’s brook that flowed

Fast by the oracle of God, I thence

Invoke thy aid to my advent’rous song,

That with no middle flight intends to soar

Above th’ Aonian mount, while it pursues

Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme.

And chiefly thou, O Spirit, that dost prefer

Before all temples th’ upright heart and pure,

Instruct me, for thou know’st; thou from the first

Wast present, and with mighty wings outspread

Dove-like sat’st brooding on the vast abyss

And mad’st it pregnant: what in me is dark

Illumine, what is low raise and support,

That to the highth of this great argument

I may assert eternal providence,

And justify the ways of God to men.

Say first, for Heav’n hides nothing from thy view

Nor the deep tract of Hell, say first what cause

Moved our grand parents in that happy state,

Favored of Heav’n so highly, to fall off

From their Creator, and transgress his will

For one restraint, lords of the world besides?

Who first seduced them to that foul revolt?

Th’ infernal serpent; he it was, whose guile

Stirred up with envy and revenge, deceived

The mother of mankind, what time his pride

Had cast him out from Heav’n, with all his host

Of rebel angels, by whose aid aspiring

To set himself in glory above his peers,

He trusted to have equaled the Most High,

If he opposed; and with ambitious aim

Against the throne and monarchy of God

Raised impious war in Heav’n and battle proud

With vain attempt. Him the Almighty Power

Hurled headlong flaming from th’ ethereal sky

With hideous ruin and combustion down

To bottomless perdition, there to dwell

In adamantine chains and penal fire,

Who durst defy th’ Omnipotent to arms.

Nine times the space that measures day and night

To mortal men, he with his horrid crew

1. The first line’s introduction of an exemplary man recalls the epics of Homer and Vergil. Milton’s theme, however, is neither martial nor imperial but spiritual: humanity’s disastrous failure to obey God counterpoised by the promise of redemption. Of man’s: The proper name Adam is also the Hebrew word for generic man or humankind. He is both an individual male and, with Eve, the entire species: “so God created man . . . ; male and female he created them” (Gen. 1.27). Of man translates the Hebrew for “woman” (Gen. 2.23). fruit: Its dual meanings (outcome, food) are put in play by enjambment, a primary formal device by which Milton draws out sense “from one verse into another” (The Verse).

4. one greater man: Jesus, second Adam (1 Cor. 15.21–22; Rom. 5.19). Cp. PR 1.1–4.

5. blissful seat: translates Vergil’s epithet for Elysium, Aen. 6.639.

6. Sing Heav’nly Muse: the verb and subject of the magnificently inverted sixteen-line opening sentence. By invoking a Muse, Milton follows a convention that dates from Homer. Yet Milton’s Muse is not the muse of classical epic (Calliope) but the inspiration of Moses, David, and the prophets (cp. 17–18n). secret: set apart, not common. When the Lord descends to give Moses the law, thick clouds and smoke obscure the mountaintop, and the people are forbidden on pain of death to cross boundaries around the mountain (Exod. 19.16, 23).

8. shepherd: The vocation of shepherd is a key vehicle for Milton’s integration of classical and scriptural traditions. Moses encounters God while tending sheep on Mount Horeb (Oreb) and later receives the law on Sinai, a spur of Horeb (Exod. 3; 19). (Or the doubling of names may simply acknowledge the inconsistency of Exod. 19.20 and Deut. 4.10.)

9. In the beginning: opening phrase of Genesis and the Gospel of John.

10. Chaos: classical term for the primeval state of being out of which God creates, also referred to as “the deep” (as in Gen. 1.2) and “the abyss” (as in l. 21). Sion hill: Mount Zion, site of Solomon’s Temple, “the house of the Lord” (1 Kings 6.1, 13). Adding to the persistent doubleness of the invocation, Milton requests inspiration from two scriptural sites associated with God’s presence and prophetic inspiration. Both sites receive dual designations: Mount Horeb/Sinai and Mount Zion/Siloa’s brook.

11–12. Siloa’s brook . . . God: spring whose waters flowed through an underground aqueduct, supplied a pool near (Fast by) Solomon’s Temple, and irrigated the king’s lush garden (cp. 4.225–30). Jerome says it ran directly beneath Mount Zion (A. Gilbert 1919, 269). Scripturally, it symbolizes David’s monarchical line (Isa. 7–8, esp. 8.6). In opening the eyes of the man born blind, Jesus sends him to wash his eyes with its waters (John 9). Cp. 3.30–31. oracle of God: the holiest place in the Temple, the tabernacle of the Ark of the Covenant (1 Kings 6.19). The classical Muses haunt a spring (Aganippe) on Helicon (cp. 15n), “the sacred well, / That from beneath the seat of Jove doth spring” (Lyc 15–16). In identifying the spring near the “Holy of Holies” as similarly a site of inspiration, Milton again links scriptural and classical prophetic and poetic traditions.

14. no middle flight: Milton will go beyond middle air, whose upper boundary is as high as the peaks of tall mountains, and soar to the highest Empyrean, the abode of God. His soaring ambition recalls the myth of Icarus, whose failure to follow a middle flight caused him to tumble into the sea (cp. 7.12–20).

15. Aonian mount: Helicon, Greek mountain favored by the Muses (cp. 11–12n). Hesiod says that while he tended sheep on Helicon (like Moses on Horeb), the Muses called him to sing of the gods (Theog. 22).

16. Translates the opening of Orlando Furioso (1.2) and is reminiscent of Masque 43–45; cp. similar claims by Lucretius (De Rerum Nat. 1.925–30) and Horace (Odes 3.1.2–4).

17–18. 1 Cor. 3.16–17, 6.19. The Spirit is the Holy Spirit (l. 21). In Milton’s theology, the diverse functions of the Holy Spirit derive from “the virtue and power of God the Father,” in this case “the force or voice of God, in whatever way it was breathed into the prophets” (CD 1.6, p. 1194). The site of revelation progresses from Horeb/Sinai to Sion hill/Siloa’s brook to, finally, the individual human heart.

21. brooding: Milton thus renders the Hebrew word translated as “moved” in the AV (Gen. 1.2) but as incubabat (brooded) in St. Basil and other Latin patristic authors (see also 7.235). Cp. Sir Thomas Browne, Religio Medici: “This is that gentle heat that brooded on the waters, and in six days hatched the world” (73).

24. argument: subject matter; cp. 9.28.

25. assert: take the part of, champion.

26. justify: vindicate; cp. Pope, Essay on Man: “Laugh where we must, be candid where we can,/But vindicate the ways of God to man” (1.15–16). Milton’s word order permits dual readings: either “justify (the ways of God to men)” or “justify (the ways of God) to men.” Cp. SA: “Just are the ways of God,/And justifiable to men” (293–94).

27–28. Milton introduces the narrative with a query, an epic convention; cp. “Tell me, O Muse, the cause” (Vergil, Aen. 1.8). Homer also depicts the Muses as all-knowing: “Tell me now, ye Muses that have dwellings on Olympus—for ye are goddesses and are at hand and know all things” (Il. 2.484–85).

29. grand: great, original, all-inclusive; cp. line 122.

30. fall off: deviate, revolt (as in l. 33).

33. Cp. Il. 1.8.

36. what time: when; cp. Masque 291, Lyc 28.

44–49. Him . . . arms: “God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness” (2 Pet. 2.4; cp. Jude 6).

45. “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven” (Luke 10.18); cp. Homer’s Hephaestus “hurled . . . from the heavenly threshold . . . headlong” (Il. 1.591–92).

46. ruin: a fall from a great height, from the Latin ruina; cp 6.867–68.

48. adamantine: unbreakable (Gk.); cp. Aeschylus’s Prometheus, clamped “in shackles of binding adamant that can- not be broken” (Prom. 6). The myth of adamant persists today; the indestructible claws of the Marvel Comics hero Wol- verine are made of “adamantium.”

49. durst: dared.

50–52. The rebel angels regain consciousness after nine days falling from Heaven (6.871) and nine days rolling in the fiery gulf. Hesiod’s Titans fall nine days from heaven to earth and another nine from earth to Tartarus (Theog. 720–25). Milton, like many Christian mythographers, deemed the Titans’ rebellion a pagan analogue for Satan’s fall.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Table of Contents

Note on This Edition.

Acknowledgments.

List of Illustrations.

Chronology.

Introduction.

Textual Introduction.

PARADISE LOST.

In Paradisum Amissam Summi Poetæ (S[amuel] B[arrow] M. D.).

On Paradise Lost (A[ndrew] M[arvell]).

The Verse.

Book 1.

Book 2.

Book 3.

Book 4.

Book 5.

Book 6.

Book 7.

Book 8.

Book 9.

Book 10.

Book 11.

Book 12.

Textual Notes.

Appendix: Sketches for Dramas on the Fall, from the Trinity Manuscript.

Select Bibliography

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 639 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 639 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 20, 2011

    Purchase a modern edition

    Half the time I could figure out what the words where suppose to be. The miss spellings could be so bad at times that meanings of entire sentences were lost.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2011

    Couldn't read

    I could not read it clearly to many typos.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 23, 2012

    Classic Poem, Great Edition

    Milton is hard to read. The language of the late 1600's seemed impenetrable to me at first, but Teskey's notes helped me through it. Not much has to be said about the poem itself: it is cemented in the canon of the English language as a masterpiece. One thing I was surprised by was the sympathetic construction of Satan. He is not an evil character, he is just angry and even embodies human traits. This edition also includes John Milton's work Areopogatica about the Church of England and their licensing rights. I was moved by Milton's defense of free speech.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 3, 2011

    Great

    This is the awesomest book evr i do not know how to explain it read it read it readit read it read it read it read it read it;) :) ;/ :/

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 25, 2011

    Helpful thing

    I read this in my senoir year of high school i thought it was not only attention grabbing but helpful in adding to mmy knowledge. When you think about what you generaly learn in sunday school helped made sense of some of the things you learn in it.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2013

    Find a better copy.

    Not worth the $.99.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2013

    Epub unreadable

    Poor, poor copy.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 17, 2011

    In its original script, most people will find it hard to follow.

    Hard to follow yet worth reading. Modern versions of this text often bastardize the real meaning. If you have read a newer version you would do well to read this if not another more concise version to get the full meaning of 'Paradise Lost'.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2014

    WTH???

    The whole text is a single colum in the middle of the page...Oh well just a 1.99

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2014

    Trash

    Can not read it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2014

    Illegible garbage

    This clearly was OCR and never proofed or corrected. Essentially impossible to decipher.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2013

    Oh no!

    Just got the free B&N book because it was supposed to not be full of typos and introduced charactets. WRONG! Note to B&N: Try to read Page 22. Go ahead and try. Usually don't critique free books, but it's description said it had been improved and not OCR'd. You cannot tell it. Will be deleted.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2013

    Needs Notes

    This needs notes of explanation of certain term badly.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2013

    Listen!

    This is just a google copy...It's also riddled with errors!

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  • Posted November 20, 2012

    Great!

    How do you review Paradise Lost? It is a classic that is a must read for any well read person.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2012

    Terrible

    This digital copy is almost indecipherable. Do not waste your time.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2012

    A Marvel.

    A marvelous classic still revelent today.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2010

    good

    good

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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