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Paradise Lost (Large Print Edition) Hardcover – Large Print, August 18, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0554263755 ISBN-10: 0554263750 Edition: large type edition

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: BiblioLife; large type edition edition (August 18, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0554263750
  • ISBN-13: 978-0554263755
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.8 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (235 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,996,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John Milton was one of the greatest English poets. He was also a great prose writer, historian, and pamphleteer. As innovative in politics as in literature, Milton's works have influenced generations of readers and exerted particular influence over the authors of the Romantic Movement. The epic poem “Paradise Lost,” in which he sets out to “justify the ways of God to man,” is his masterpiece. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

From David Hawkes’s Introduction to Paradise Lost



Milton believed that the kind of knowledge that can be attained by the human mind was necessarily contingent, or limited. It was limited by cultural and historical context: The ancient Greeks, for example, had been culturally unable to arrive at monotheism. But it was also inherently limited by its internal properties. The human mind is designed, or has developed, in such a way as to live in time and space. To exist outside time and space, the human mind would have to become something different than what it currently is. The same goes for such ideas as causality or extension; without the capacity to think according to these categories it would be simply impossible to have any kind of recognizably human experience. We do not, therefore, experience the world as it really is, we experience the world as it appears to human beings. And we know that this experience is contingent upon—limited by—the inherent nature of the human mind.



It follows that the concepts we form of things, the way they appear to us, do not correspond to the things in themselves. There are thus two kinds of truth: the truth “for us,” in what modern philosophers call the world of “phenomena,” and the truth “in itself,” in what is known as the world of “noumena.” In John Keats’s “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” for example, the poet laments that he can never experience the urn in its noumenal state, as it is in itself. Keats comes to this realization by considering the difference between the significance it possesses for him, as a modern Englishman, and the meanings it conveyed to its creator, an ancient Greek. The “phenomenal” appearance of the urn has changed, although the urn “in itself” has not. In a sense the noumenal is more true, because it is more absolute, than the phenomenal, but the truth “in itself” is by definition beyond the grasp of human thought. We are stuck with a consciousness that we know to be incomplete. This is philosophical terminology, but Milton expresses the same ideas in quasi-mythological, religious terms. Paradise Lost hinges upon the fundamental, unbridgeable, qualitative distinction between the world of earthly phenomena as experienced by Adam and Eve (and also by the poem’s all-too-human narrator), and the world of spiritual noumena as it is represented to them (and us) through the intricate system of characters, figures, and images that make up the Western mythological and religious traditions.



Above all, Milton insists on the disparity in nature between the Creator and His creation. Paradise Lost describes the alienation of labor in a cosmic context; it tells of how the universe that God made came to be alien to Him, and how it came to seem autonomous and self-generating to its inhabitants. The disjunction between the Maker and the made involves a contradiction between two different kinds of value, of significance. It follows that any knowledge we can have of God or His Providential designs must always be “mediated,” translated into the contingent terms and concepts to which the human mind has access.



Almost half of Paradise Lost consists of stories told to Adam and/or Eve through the voices of the archangels Raphael and Michael. These characters incessantly remind their auditors that they are attempting the impossible task of representing noumena in terms of phenomena. Asked to describe the fall of Satan to the human couple, Raphael falls into a quandry: “how shall I relate / To human sense th’invisible exploits / Of warring spirits” (5.564–566). He decides that he must tell his story in the form of an extended metaphor, using images that Adam and Eve are equipped to understand: “what surmounts the reach / Of human sense, I shall delineate so, / By likening spiritual to corporal forms, / As may express then best” (5.571–574). We are thus warned not to take the action of the “war in Heaven” that the angel describes literally, but to remain conscious that we are receiving figural representations of spiritual (we might call them psychological or philosophical) events. We can only understand those events if we take account of the fact that they are mediated for us through contingent human discourse:

Immediate are the acts of God, more swift

Than time or motion; but to human ears

Cannot without process of speech be told,

So told as earthly notion can receive (7.176–179).

 

The action of Paradise Lost takes place, then, in many different registers simultaneously. The ability to read a text as both literal and symbolic, and also at infinite gradations between these poles, came more naturally to educated people in Milton’s time than it does to us, trained as they were in the intricate hermeneutics of biblical exegesis. Furthermore, their facility with textual interpretation was matched by a happy disregard for the boundaries between what we regard as mutually exclusive intellectual fields. Paradise Lost is certainly a work of theology, representing the spiritual conflict between metaphysical beings, but this conflict is also the determining factor in world history, as well as within the human psyche. Although more than twenty characters address us in the course of the poem, such figures also represent disputing forces within Milton’s mind and, by implication, within the mind of the reader.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

This is undoubtedly a difficult book to read.
Brickbat70
Paradise Lost is my favorite work in the English language, and this is my favorite edition of it (I have quite a few).
Hans U. Widmaier
Another nice characteristic of this edition is the artwork and illustrations included.
Shane Cappuccio

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

196 of 201 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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147 of 151 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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183 of 193 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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