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The Complete Poetry and Essential Prose of John Milton (Modern Library (Hardcover)) by [Milton, John]
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The Complete Poetry and Essential Prose of John Milton (Modern Library (Hardcover)) Kindle Edition

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Length: 1408 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled Page Flip: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews


“Over the coming months, [John Milton’s] 400th anniversary will be celebrated in many different ways, but it is highly unlikely that any of the tributes he receives will do as much for him as the appearance of the Modern Library edition of his collected poetry and selected prose. The edition is a model of its kind, well designed and attractively produced. There are scholarly but unintimidating footnotes and helpful introductions to the major works. Spelling and punctuation have been modernized -- a difficult decision but the right one….A great deal has been packed in, but Milton has still been left room to breathe. The whole enterprise is meant to be reader-friendly, and it succeeds.” — The Wall Street Journal

“This magnificent edition gives us everything we need to read Milton intelligently and with fresh perception. You could take it to a desert island, or just stay home and further your education in a great writer.”–William H. Pritchard, Amherst College

“For generations of readers Milton has been the measure of both eloquence and nobility of mind. For the next generation this new Modern Library volume will be the standard: it is meticulously edited, full of tactful annotations that set the stage for his work and his times, and it brings Milton, as a poet and a thinker, vividly alive before us.”–Robert Hass

“Years ago I began a series of poems about Milton and his daughters. Ever since, I have been combing through Milton’s poems and prose for those moments when the poet would turn and speak to the poet in me. It is in the new Kerrigan-Rumrich-Fallon edition that I now find prompt rejoinders to questions, ready clarifications of problems, and a more intimate dimension of that formidable adjective Miltonic.” –Richard Howard

“A superb edition of the great poet, with modernized spelling, lucid introductions to each work, illuminating ...

About the Author

John Milton (1608-74), the great English poet, is best known for his epic masterpiece, Paradise Lost. In addition to writing brilliant verse and overtly political works, Milton was also a private tutor and, during the Commonwealth period, served as Secretary for Foreign Tongues, a position mostly involving the composition of the English Republic’s foreign correspondence in Latin.

About the Editors
William Kerrigan is the author of many books, including The Sacred Complex: On the Psychogenesis of Paradise Lost, for which he won the James Holly Hanford Award of the Milton Society of America. A former president of the Milton Society, he has also earned numerous honors and distinctions from that group, including its award for lifetime achievement. He is professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts.

John Rumrich is the author of Matter of Glory: A New Preface to Paradise Lost and Milton Unbound: Controversy and Reinterpretation. An award-winning editor and writer, he is Thaman Professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin, where he teaches early modern British literature.

Stephen M. Fallon is the author of Milton’s Peculiar Grace: Self-Representation and Authority and Milton Among the Philosophers: Poetry and Materialism in Seventeenth-Century England, winner of the Milton Society’s Hanford Award. He is professor of liberal studies and English at the University of Notre Dame.

Product Details

  • File Size: 12251 KB
  • Print Length: 1408 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library (October 28, 2009)
  • Publication Date: October 28, 2009
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006FYBCF2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #244,691 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Janssen on October 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My 3 star rating is purely a bibliophile's response to the poor quality binding given an otherwise very good edition of John Milton's recovered work. As a collection it's a fine achievement, but as a useable volume to be read and handled it's a piece of @#$%. What's most irritating is that the book could have been given fine cloth boards and possibly even a leather spine for less than five or six dollars more. Given the $35 discounted price it could have still come in under $40 and matched the LOA and Everyman's bookbinding standard. It should be noted that the latest Dickens "Nonesuch" editions offer approximately a 10" x 7" format of quality cloth, leather spines and mylar dust jackets for anywhere from $23 to $35.

Some years back Modern Library went down the road of minimal standards in hardcover books, replacing full Smythe sewn bindings and sturdy cloth boards with glue and cheap paper over cardboard. In smaller volumes of poetry or prose this is unfortunate but perhaps acceptable given the price. But, in a $35 volume approaching 3" in thickness it's a disaster waiting to happen. Only marginally more sturdy than a paperback, the weight alone will tear such a volume apart in a very short period of time just through normal reading. Any rough handling of the type typical of lower classmen taking English Lit 101 will render the work suitable only for emergency toilet paper in the freshman dorm. If at all possible search out alternative sellers to ascertain if the volume is available in a library or text book binding as the additional expense would be money well spent. Alternatively, if you're willing to spend a little more ($50+) upfront, I would recommend the Hackett Publications edition which is similar in content and of vastly superior construction.
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Format: Hardcover
Somewhere in the illegibly tiny notes to the Riverside Milton are some valuable bibliographic citations and other good information. So if you are a Milton scholar I'm afraid you can't make any excuse to avoid consulting that poorly designed doorstop. Also, if you need original spelling, Riverside is a convenient place to check.

If you are anything other than a Milton scholar who needs to check all the commentaries & annotations of all the editors -- if you are one of the rare persisting "general readers" curious to read everything -- then this Modern Library edition, "The Complete Poetry and Essential Prose of John Milton," is a much more usable and friendly answer to your needs than the Riverside.

ML's bigger and better font & less stark paper color make a real difference if you plan on reading literature as opposed to making use of a reference book. Both volumes offer extensive selections from Milton's prose; Riverside's best advantage is including Milton's "Treatise of Civil Power" (1659). (Riverside also has all the prolusions; ML just nos. 1 & 7. On the whole, the representation of Milton's prose oeuvre is a wash.) ML's best advantage in the prose, and it is a weighty one, is its treatment of the crucial "Christian Doctrine." Riverside's CD looks more complete than it is, because it widely (and inconsistently) fails to note where omissions have been made. Riverside omits passages of crucial interest to the reader of Paradise Lost. ML gives a very complete and thoughtful selection from CD (lightened by removing most series of proof texts), but its greatest advantage here is providing plentiful & good footnotes, including many references to Paradise Lost. Shockingly, and unconscionably, Riverside provides NO annotation to Christian Doctrine.
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Format: Hardcover
For many of us, this is the volume of Milton for which we have been waiting. The Notes are useful without being overwhelming & the selection from his prose work is very generous. Overall, this is a significant offering to all lovers of poetry, 17th Century literature, and theology. Together with the newly published edition of Shakespeare's First Folio, this edition of Milton is the bedrock of English Literature and should not be read, but re-read for a lifetime.
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Format: Hardcover
As far as "Paradise Lost" is concerned, this book has superb annotation that is not as overbearing (though useful) as the edition by Fowler; notes are clear and concise, with verse cross-refrences and citation of many commentators. As an undergrad, I can greatly appreciate such reader friendly texts that elucidate obscure or outdated words and phrases, affording a lot more time to enjoy Milton otherwise spent in a dictionary. It also has a great introduction to PL, as well as selected illustrations.
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Format: Hardcover
The obligatory remark encompassing modern appreciation for Milton was given to us from T.S. Eliot, who believed that, "of no other poet is it so difficult to consider the poetry simply as poetry, without our theological and political dispositions... making unlawful entry." It is impossible to surmise and internalize Milton's poetry without also having to take in the historical aura of the radical man - the Milton of Parliamentary holy war and old-timey religious conservatism. His dour presence floats down to us through filtered history and infuses his poetical works with our new, never-ending quest to search for the motivation of the artist through his or her art. It is this unfair, skewed lens through which we seek the man through the work that we distort "Lycidas" into a declaration of war against the Anglican priesthood rather than a young poet's fearful hope of obtaining Fame before he, too, dies. This skewed lens that views "Comus" as solely a piece of political resurgence of a disgraced Earl's family rather than a confident poet's first attempt to fuse epic aesthetics with austere Christian doctrine. And this skewed lens that lessens the infinite importance of "Paradise Lost," its indelible impact on all major writers in English since, to a longish document of literary curio of occasional allegorical significance.

There is a great deal of time, politicking, and structure to overcome when reading Milton, whether just being introduced to his work or continually engaged with it. These troubles in reading him seep through most of his poems and prose. And even without the myth of the poet clouding his meaning, he was a terribly learned writer, and his work can be difficult to approach for even the casual scholar.
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