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Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained (Signet Classic Poetry) [Mass Market Paperback]

John Milton , Christopher Ricks , Susanne Woods
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 1, 2001 0451527925 978-0451527929
Here in one volume are the complete texts of two of the greatest epic poems in English literature, each a profound exploration of the moral problems of God's justice. They demonstrate Milton's genius for classicism and innovation, narrative and drama-and are a grand example of what Samuel Johnson called his "peculiar power to astonish."

Edited by Christopher Ricks
With a New Introduction by Dr. Susanne Woods

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Editorial Reviews


"Offers an intensely filmic description of the events that countless artists have sought to visualise" The Times "Milton represents the English imagination at its most organised, disciplined and sublime" -- Tom Paulin Guardian "Never was a work of literature so imbued with the visual. He creates a universe that never existed, and paints it so you see it and are overwhelmed by its immensity, its magnificent splendour at the top end, the great dark plains and huge rocky mountains, the fires and storms at the other - and the horror of the void between" -- Julian Rathbone Independent "I read Paradise Lost when I was 11, and it made me suddenly realise that the Devil was sexy, which was quite muddling at that age and had disastrous consequences in that I then lusted after unsuitable men for the rest of my life" -- Jilly Cooper Daily Mail "When the blind John Milton came to retell the story of Genesis in book seven of Paradise Lost he dwelt with understandable poignancy on the sheer visual loveliness of the newly created world. Anyone who thinks Milton is a pedantic old bore should peruse the lines that celebrate the wonder and beauty of birds' flight, migration and song" Financial Times

About the Author

John Milton was born in London on December 9, 1608, and studied at the University of Cambridge. He originally planned to become a clergyman, but abandoned those ambitions to become a poet. Political in his writings, he served a government post during the time of the Commonwealth. In 1651, he went completely blind but he continued to write, finishing Paradise Lost in 1667, and Paradise Regained in 1671. He died in 1674.
Christopher Ricks is professor of humanities at Boston University and most recently author of Dylan’s Visions of Sin.
Susanne Woods is a Provost nad Professor of English at Wheaton College in Massachusetts, and Chair of the professional Northeast Milton Seminar. Her doctorate is from Columbia University and she has taught at the University of Hawaii, Franklin & Marshall College, and at Brown University, where she maintains an affiliation. Her books include Natural Emphasis: English Versification from Chaucer to Dryden (1984), and Lanyer: A Renaissance Woman Poet (1999), and she has published numerous articles on Milton and other English renaissance poets.

Product Details

  • Series: Signet Classic Poetry
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Signet Classics (November 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451527925
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451527929
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 4.2 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #542,424 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
100 of 110 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic work July 15, 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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 on greater Man
Restore us and regain the blissful seat
Sing, Heavenly Muse...
Not a lot people know that 'Paradise Lost' has as a much lesser known companion piece 'Paradise Regained'; of course, it was true during Milton's time as it is today that the more harrowing and juicy the story, the better it will likely be remembered and received.
This is not to cast any aspersion on this great poem, however. It has been called, with some justification, the greatest English epic poem. The line above, the first lines of the first book of the poem, is typical of the style throughout the epic, in vocabulary and syntax, in allusiveness. The word order tends toward the Latinate, with the object coming first and the verb coming after.
Milton follows many classical examples by personifying characters such as Death, Chaos, Mammon, and Sin. These characters interact with the more traditional Christian characters of Adam, Eve, Satan, various angels, and God. He takes as his basis the basic biblical text of the creation and fall of humanity (thus, 'Paradise Lost'), which has taken such hold in the English-speaking world that many images have attained in the popular mind an almost biblical truth to them (in much the same way that popular images of Hell owe much to Dante's Inferno). The text of Genesis was very much in vogue in the mid-1600s (much as it is today) and Paradise Lost attained an almost instant acclaim.
John Milton was an English cleric, a protestant who nonetheless had a great affinity for catholic Italy, and this duality of interests shows in much of his creative writing as well as his religious tracts.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Milton Accessible January 21, 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Ricks provides the most helpful and least pedantic footnotes since James Holly Hanford's edition. They are unobtrusive and on the same page as the text. The text itself is reliable and in modern spelling, but Milton's apostrophes have been retained to make certain that the pronunciations he specified (for metrical reasons) are indicated. There could, perhaps, be wider margins for making annotations.
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51 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shakespeare's Successor March 26, 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare were indeed grand masters of literature for all time. "Paradise Lost" and "Paradise Regained" is enough to put John Milton in the same category. Like Marlowe and Shakespeare, Milton demonstrates extreme scholarship and a superb mastery of the language. It is interesting how Milton takes figures that are mentioned briefly in the scriptures and turns them into major characters. It is also frightening how Milton was able to make God and Satan 3 dimensional as opposed to simply good (in God's case) and evil (in Satan's case). This book is not for everyone. But if you do not mind an unorthodox portrayal of God and Satan and if you want to enjoy beautiful language, superb images, dramatic confrontations, and powerful images, you must read this masterpiece composed with superb and delicate skill.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the Signet edition is my favorite May 5, 2007
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have maybe a half-dozen editions of "Paradise Lost."

Whenever I need to reread it quickly, I pick up the Signet Classic edition. It's got to be my favorite.

There are more thorough editions, certainly. But the thing I like about the Signet edition is that it's got this whole Goldilocks thing going on with the footnotes. Not too few, not too many.

In the text, words and phrases that are glossed at the bottom of the page have a little circle (a degree sign) next to them. You look down if you need to; if you don't, you keep reading. I like this because many editions don't indicate in the running text when something has a gloss: one must flip to the back of the book to hunt this out for oneself.

Additionally, there are not so many footnotes that they clutter up half (or more) of the page: I'm sure you're familiar with this sight.

Originally this was edited by Christopher Ricks (of Cambridge). In addition to the bibliography, chronology, and footnotes, he also wrote a short introduction. That unremarkable introduction has now been supplanted by one done by Susanne Woods, to which I am also indifferent.

The Signet edition also fits snugly in your hand, as other, meatier editions do not.

Too bad Amazon buries this edition in the back pages. I had to hunt around a while before I could find it!
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52 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paradise Lost June 2, 2001
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"The poem provides an unwitting expose to the absurdity of Christian mythology." With all due respect, I have to question how someone can consider what Milton intended as the "justification of the ways of God to men" an "unwitting exposé." For sure there are several controversies throughout PL-Milton most certainly DOES represent Satan as noble, rationalize the Fall, and present God as less interesting and engaging than the Devil-but he most certainly does NOT do so "unwittingly." Above all Milton was an advocate of freedom-freedom of thought and theology no less than the freedom from censorship he championed in Areopagitica. He was in many ways unorthodox, even denying the Holy Spirit as a person of the Trinity. In Paradise Lost, Milton was not writing a treatise on God's justice and unwittingly undermining his own religion: the issues of Satan's heroic charm and God's apparent coldness are fundamental parts of that treatise. Sin is tempting and attractive, but "the wages of sin is death" (as shown by the "Unholy Trinity" of Satan, Sin, and Death, by which point in the narrative the heroic appeal of Satan the reader may have felt at the beginning of the poem starts to fade). And the cold, often unappealing reason and justice of God are hard to come to terms with-indeed, impossible to come to terms with, without the redemption of Christ. Milton hardly tries to "negate his own words with addendums and disclaimers." Show me one such addendum or disclaimer that isn't part of his intended theodicy. In my opinion, Milton's epic is one of the most cogent examples of Christian apologetics ever. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
never received
Published 5 days ago by MEC
1.0 out of 5 stars Paradise Partially Regained
I was greatly disappointed by this book. Milton writes so much more about Santan's fall from Heavan & the fall of man than he does on how Christ regains paradise. Read more
Published 13 days ago by Amanda, RN
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice Pictures
If you are not familiar with Paradise Lost I suggest you be an astute reader before taking on the quest of reading John Milton. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Goddess Shadow
5.0 out of 5 stars Once required reading, now pleasant pastime
Another book that was required reading in High School... way "back in the day." It's always nice to re-read the "required reading" books when they are no longer... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Dale Creitz
3.0 out of 5 stars haven't read yet
I got a bunch of free download books to fulfill my obsession to have all the books. I haven't even opened it so I can speak to the formatting or content.
Published 8 months ago by chris pederson
5.0 out of 5 stars a favorite
Paradise Regained doesn't get as much praise as Paradise Lost, it is shorter, but I would consider them equals and part of one story.
Published 9 months ago by Jared L. Gibbs
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Creative English Epic And Excellent Edition
This Signet edition has excellent and to the point footnotes to help any reader wade through this work. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Plotinus
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic work
A cautionary tale to appreciate what you have and not covet others' station in life/possessions/stature. Accentuate the positive. Much easier to read than The Divine Comedy.
Published 9 months ago by Michael
5.0 out of 5 stars Classics
A must read for all!! Read this many many years ago and appreciate it much more now. Kindle version is great!
Published 10 months ago by Gail L lutes
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly a classic
Perhaps THE masterwork of English literature. Plan to read a book each day and in less than two weeks you've experienced a great work of art!
Published 10 months ago by S.Stancil
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Why is there no free "Paradise Lost" Kindle book?
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Mar 14, 2011 by S. Harrah |  See all 4 posts
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