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Paradise Lost [Paperback]

John Milton , David Scott Kastan
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (243 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 30, 2005 0872207331 978-0872207332 3rd

Paradise Lost remains as challenging and relevant today as it was in the turbulent intellectual and political environment in which it was written. This edition aims to bring the poem as fully alive to a modern reader as it would have been to Milton's contemporaries. It provides a newly edited text of the 1674 edition of the poem--the last of Milton's lifetime--with carefully modernized spelling and punctuation. Marginal glosses define unfamiliar words, and extensive annotations at the foot of the page clarify Milton's syntax and poetics, and explore the range of literary, biblical, and political allusions that point to his major concerns. David Kastan's lively Introduction considers the central interpretative issues raised by the poem, demonstrating how thoroughly it engaged the most vital--and contested--issues of Milton's time, and which reveal themselves as no less vital, and perhaps no less contested, today.

The edition also includes an essay on the text, a chronology of major events in Milton's life, and a selected bibliography, as well as the first known biography of Milton, written by Edward Phillips in 1694.


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Paradise Lost + The Divine Comedy: Inferno; Purgatorio; Paradiso (Everyman's Library) + The Canterbury Tales
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Editorial Reviews

Review

. . .an exemplary job both of presenting the major topics of Paradise Lost and of entering the selva oscura of Milton criticism. . . . Students and scholars alike will appreciate the balanced approach to the complexities, difficulties, and conundrums of Milton's poem and the criticism on it. Kastan's prose is not just lively but chiseled, and it is destined to affect students. --Patrick Cheney, Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900

Kastan is an exemplary editor, attuned to emerging critical currents, yet steeped in the scholarship of an earlier tradition, aware of the text's provenance and reception, alert to its topicality. His introduction, a model of theoretically informed, politically committed, historically grounded criticism, makes this edition of Paradise Lost all you would expect from one of the most erudite and perceptive figures in the field. --Willy Maley, Modern Language Review

This is a superb edition, a model of careful editing and judicious annotation. --Leslie Brisman, Department of English, Yale University

From the Publisher

Most popular student edition of Paradise Lost --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Hackett Publishing Co.; 3rd edition (September 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0872207331
  • ISBN-13: 978-0872207332
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (243 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #90,700 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
186 of 189 people found the following review helpful
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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142 of 145 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the Best Edition Out There June 22, 2008
By Nick
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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176 of 184 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great edition, except. . . 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Love it!
Published 1 day ago by Dre Vega
1.0 out of 5 stars An abominable textual "update" of the Hughes text. Find an earlier...
One star because the notes in the Hughes edition have always been good. The text, however, has modernized spelling (dumbed down, from my viewpoint). Read more
Published 2 days ago by J.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Perfectly described! Exactly what I expected.
Published 6 days ago by Shawn McAllister
5.0 out of 5 stars Dang. But like, daaaaaaaang.
quite possibly the most beautiful thing i have ever had the privilege of running my eyes from left to right over.
Published 20 days ago by gabe
5.0 out of 5 stars Paradise Lost
I have been wanting to read this for years and finally got around to it. I love this poem and can't put the book down!
Published 21 days ago by Seth Rutter
5.0 out of 5 stars Paradise Lost found!
The best way to read one of the foundational classics of the Western world is to take a class at a university from a professor who specializes in Milton and baroque English... Read more
Published 25 days ago by D. Chmielewski
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
It was kind of interesting. For me it was not really the kind of book I enjoy. I can not really give a fair review. Just not my taste .
Published 27 days ago by Margaret Beauchemin
1.0 out of 5 stars The Kindle version sold under this listing is NOT annotated.
Went through the rigamarole with a polite, but uncomprehending Amazon representative to determine if I was possibly overlooking the annotations. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Netizen
5.0 out of 5 stars Cannot Go Wrong with Norton
Norton Critical Editions have never let me down.
This is my third critical edition and I love it just as much as the others. Read more
Published 2 months ago by E. White
3.0 out of 5 stars Only For The Starving Student
There are so many better editions of PARADISE LOST in paperback, that only someone on a very limited budget would buy this one.

Why did I buy it then, you may ask? Read more
Published 2 months ago by reading man
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