24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
The Greatest Writing in the English Language,
This review is from: Paradise Lost (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)There's enough already said about why and how Milton wrote this book, so I don't have anything to say about that. It's a story most people will be familiar with, and any surprises will involve the beauty of the language or a random, surprising insight into a character's motivation. In the end, Milton deserves to be called the greatest writer in English because of the pure strength and beauty of each individual sentence.
This is undoubtedly a difficult book to read. I teach a small bit in a sophomore high school English class, and I tell them, "This will be the most complex text you will encounter this year." We have to practice unpacking sentences one at a time and stating them in our own words in order to get their meaning. It's a slow process, and one that most adults will also need to go through.
But it's all worth it! Reading Milton might or might not change your view of God and man, but absorbing him will change your love of language. The words are vivid and powerful and beg to be read aloud. If you like your poetry Great in the sense of sounding larger than life and tackling humanity's major questions, Milton is it. (And, in my opinion, he even takes out other wonderful poets that I also love, including Dante, Virgil, Homer, and Shakespeare).