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Customer Review

173 of 181 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the Best Edition Out There, June 22, 2008
By 
This review is from: Paradise Lost (Penguin Classics) (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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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 11, 2011 3:59:19 PM PDT
R. Hayes says:
This review is posted in the wrong place. The reviewer is referring to the Penguin Classics edition. However, this particular edition (by Maestro Reprints) has no introduction, annotations or editorial comments. This fact was noted in one of the negative reviews. In that review, the reviewer thought that apparently the intro, annotations etc were not part of Kindle edition that he had purchased. In reality, they are not part of the paperback version either.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 12, 2011 10:31:15 AM PDT
This is the page for the Penguin Classics edition. Click on "Look Inside" and you can actually read both the Introduction and the Notes. Who or what is Maestro Reprints? Did they reprint the Penguin edition? I doubt it since it's never gone out of print.

Posted on Jun 24, 2012 8:00:37 PM PDT
LynnJynh9315 says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 9, 2012 8:52:18 AM PDT
Nick says:
Being neither American nor British, my spelling is sort of in between, though clearly more UK than US. I have a personal dislike for -ize because my mothertongue is French, where those words come from, and it's -ise in this language as well. For this reason, and because my personal choice of spelling is UK in 99% of the cases, I stick with -ise.

Posted on Oct 2, 2013 4:39:07 PM PDT
Mon ami, the statement "this is the edition" is useless. Let us all try to get into the habit--with works such as Paradise Lost, for which there are multiple publishers and multiple editions--of saying, e.g., "the Dover edition" or "the Norton edition," rather than simply "this one." Amazon evidently lumps all the reviews of a single title--even the audio versions--into one big mess. It's frustrating to look for comments on (for instance) the Kindle formatting, only to find a reviewer is describing the narrator or, as in this case, has simply not been specific as to which version is being described. One cannot assume that a "this" refers to the same version one has just clicked on, as the same exact reviews are posted under every, or at least nearly every, version of Milton's poem. I give up trying to choose one!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 1, 2014 9:31:40 AM PDT
deez says:
Thank you for your invaluable advice. If only Amazon itself would forewarn its users as you have!
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