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Samson Agonistes Paperback – February 15, 1970

ISBN-13: 978-0198319108 ISBN-10: 019831910X

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--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (February 15, 1970)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019831910X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198319108
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 4.9 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,648,654 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


The work allows for teaching feminist teaching as well as Puritan background to English literature. The notes are excellent, very helpful to me as well as to the students."--Pau Sheneman, Miami University


About the Author

John Milton (1608-1674) was an English poet, best-known for his epic poem Paradise Lost.

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 12, 1999
Format: Paperback
Samson Agonistes is, in my opinion, one of John Milton's most outstanding works. The way in which the hero, Samson, wrestles with his thoughts gives insight into the mind of Milton, especially regarding his blindness. Milton's character Delilah is a wonderful picture of what NOT to act like. This book is thought-provoking, to say the least, as well as a picture of God's greatness and design. Wonderful writing as well!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By ben dueholm on July 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
It's unfortunate that this book can be so hard to find in bookstores, because in some ways it's more worthwhile than 'Paradise Lost.'
The play is bitter and misogynistic, and lacking in dramatic qualities. But the poetry is first-rate. Samson's first speech ("Ask for this great Deliverer now, and find him / Eyeless in Caza at the Mill with slaves"; "O dark, dark, dark, amid the blaze of noon...") has been nicked by a number of great writers. It's denser and more vigorous than much of 'Paradise Lost.' And it's less than 1800 lines.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By C. L Wilson on November 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a long poem, some 45 pages, and the first thing I ever read by Milton. And it was actually pretty good! No wonder Milton is considered great. I felt as if I were reading one of the great Greek tragedies upon which this was surely modeled. It recreates in blank verse the story of Samson and Delilah and how Samson brought down the pillars of the public arena and destroyed all the Philistines. I had not thought of that Biblical story in a long time. Milton makes it seem very real, makes the people seem alive. Even Delilah comes across as a sympathic character who had rational reasons for betraying Samson. What the real story was about his strength being in his hair I've love to know. I'm sure these were real people and there is some basis in fact. I enjoyed it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
First a note on the formatting of the Kindle Version. The publisher did a pretty good job of getting this poem/play formatted for e-readers, but it still took a bit of playing around with font size and style before I was able to read it comfortably. I did enjoy the illustrations located at the beginning and end of the text (although if I didn't have a color e-reader I'd think they were just a waste), but they are simply pictures of John Milton and first editions of Paradise Lost. It's not actually an "illustrated text" in case that's what you were thinking.

As far as works by Milton go, this is much shorter than 'Paradise Lost' and much easier to get through. I was able to finish it all in one day including annotating the text. If you're not used to reading Milton-era literature keep a dictionary handy because it has not been translated for modern English. Personally I consider this a plus, but others may not agree with me. Overall Milton writes the story of Samson fairly well. It's interesting to read this as a semi-play. It's written with characters and lines, but as stated in the introduction 'not intended to be performed'. The basis of the Bible story is there, but Milton inserts his own theologies (as he does with everything he's written) and I still don't appreciate his sentiments toward women, even if the only female character was Delihla.

I can't say I really enjoyed this as a "fun" read, but it does spark topics for a very interesting debate and I'd much rather read 'Samson Agoniestes' than have to slog through all of 'Paradise Lost' again. I would recommend this to people who are just discovering Milton especially. It's short enough that you can get a taste of his work without devoting weeks and months of your time trying to get through something longer, and it gives you a good taste of what you can expected from his other works.
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