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Paradise Lost Hardcover – August 13, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell (August 13, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140512928X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405129282
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 7.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (229 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,550,386 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“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)

Review

"Barbara Lewalski is the doyenne of the community of Milton scholars, but she also remains committed to the enterprise of teaching. In this exemplary edition of Paradise Lost both qualities are in evidence: the text is scrupulous and the scholarship rigorous, but both the introduction and the notes are accommodated to the needs of students who will be coming to the poem for the first time. This is an edition that will please students and professors alike, and its sheer quality is a tribute to Barbara Lewalski's passion to provide readers with all the help they need to understand the greatest of all English poems."
–Gordon Campbell, University of Leicester

"Teachers and scholars will welcome Barbara Lewalski’s Blackwell edition of Paradise Lost, one not only informed by the erudition of a prominent and highly respected Miltonist but advantaged by her sound decision to reproduce the original language, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and italics of the 1674 text."
–Edward Jones, Editor, Milton Quarterly

"For the student or general reader, looking for an old-spelling edition that is faithful to the original punctuation, this edition has much to recommend it. Its annotation is crisp, purposeful and well-judged."
–Thomas N. Corns, University of Wales, Bangor

"A superb teaching text. Lewalski’s edition respects Milton’s original poem and offers supremely clear introductions, bibliography and special material to guide the student reader and educated lay person alike to new discoveries in a work that, quite simply, has it all: good, evil, God, Satan, humans, angels, love, despair, war, politics, sex, duty, and sublime poetry—set in a cosmic landscape that inspires wonder and seduces new readers in every generation."
Sharon Achinstein, Oxford University

Customer Reviews

All in all, this is an excellent edition of an excellent poem.
Shane Cappuccio
I've read this book a few times and I've loved it more and more everytime.
Maggie Tulliver
It is a laborious read, but John Milton's Paradise Lost is worth it.
Rodney Wilson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

193 of 197 people found the following review helpful By Michael Wischmeyer on June 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
Paradise Lost was not part of my core curriculum in science and mathematics. I was of course aware that scholars considered it a great work, a classic. But it seemed a bit daunting - long, difficult, dated, and possibly no longer relevant.
A few years ago I made two fortunate decisions. I elected to read Milton's Paradise Lost and I bought the Norton Critical Edition (edited by Scott Elledge). I read and reread Paradise Lost over a period of three months as well as the 300 pages of the Norton critical commentary. I was stunned by the beauty and power of Milton. Why had I waited so long to even approach such a literary masterpiece?
Make no mistake. I had been right in several ways. Paradise Lost is difficult, it is long, and full appreciation requires an understanding of the historical and religious context. But Paradise Lost is a remarkable achievement. It explores questions regarding man and God that are as relevant today as in the 17th century. And the genius of Milton has never been surpassed.
I found the Norton footnotes extremely helpful - definitions for rare or archaic words and expressions, explanations of the historical context, and links to the critical commentary section. The footnotes are at the page bottom, making them readily accessible.
The Norton biographical, historical, and literary commentaries were fascinating in their own right. I may well as spent as many hours reading commentary as with Paradise Lost itself.
John Milton led a remarkable life. His enthusiastic euology on Shakespeare was included in the second folio edition of Shakespeare in 1632. This was Milton's first public appearance as an author!
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145 of 149 people found the following review helpful By Nick on June 22, 2008
Format: Paperback
I have read "Paradise Lost" four times, and took no less than three semesters on it at university. This was the edition we used to work. Modernised spelling, coherent punctuation (plus variations of it in the notes), good introduction, and enormous work in the notes; this edition has all you need for a good reading of the epic poem.

As to the poem itself, some people are hard on it for all the wrong reasons. Remember that it is a 17th century poem, that English was not exactly similar as it is today, and that there are many, many words which were first used in English in "Paradise Lost". Milton was innovative with words, and he gave English new words, and expressions, such as the most famous "all Hell broke loose", which was first uttered in "Paradise Lost".

A poem like this cannot be read without good notes, and this is what this edition has to offer. Notes aren't enough, though, they have to be good, and in this edition, they are. The poem itself is not burdened by the numbers of the notes, because there are so many, the editor decided not to show them in the text per se, but at the end of the book, you will always have the reference, the lines, which the notes are about.

As to the poem itself, if you don't know it, you certainly know of the story of the Fall of Man, Adam and Eve, and the rebellion of Satan in Heaven. I'll only say that Milton's God is one seriously problematic figure in the poem, and that it caused centuries of academic discussion as to whether Milton's God is a good God or a devilish one, whether "Paradise Lost" was truly a "myth", in the old sense of a story which explains why we're here and how it got to be, or whether it was an attack on Christianity. Scholars still discuss this today, so make your own mind if you can!
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180 of 189 people found the following review helpful By Alcofribas Nasier on March 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
I love Norton Critical Editions. Or I try to. Gordon Teskey's new edition of Paradise Lost is for the most part worthy of the praise it has received in other reviews on this site. However, it has one unpardonable flaw, which is the editor's tampering with Milton's poetic line. Teskey and the Norton editors have for some reason decided to make it "easy to read" by adding parentheses to complex syntactical passages that Milton wrote on purpose to be. . . I dunno. . . hard? This move to simplify the syntax alters not only the experience of the poem but, worse, its meaning. Take for example these famous lines of Satan's from Book I, the first words spoken in Hell:

If thou beest he but O how fall'n! how changed

From him who in the happy realms of light

Clothed with transcendent brightness didst outshine

Myriads, thought bright! if he whom mutual league,

United thoughts and counsels, equal hope. . .

The meaning of the lines is confusing because Satan himself is confused, and now speaking for the first time a fallen language. The "he" from line one gets dropped until line four, when Satan remembers what he's talking about after wandering through a few memories of his life before the fall. The reader is supposed to feel the confusion and torment of this run-on sentence. But Teskey uses parentheses to clean up the very mess Milton wanted Satan to make of the sentence:

If thou beest he (but O how fallen! how changed

From him who in the happy realms of light

Clothed with transcendent brightness didst outshine

Myriads, though bright) if he whom. . .

This effectively dumbs down the poem and drastically changes it. And there is way too much of it in this edition.
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