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Paradise Lost (Dover Thrift Editions) Paperback – June 10, 2005

4.2 out of 5 stars 495 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“In this landmark edition, teachers will discover a powerful ally in bringing the excitement of Milton’s poetry and prose to new generations of students.”—William C. Dowling, Rutgers University
 
“This magnificent edition gives us everything we need to read Milton intelligently and with fresh perception.”—William H. Pritchard, Amherst College --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

John Milton (1608–1674) spent his early years in scholarly pursuit. In 1649 he took up the cause for the new Commonwealth, defending the English revolution both in English and Latin—and sacrificing his eyesight in the process. He risked his life by publishing The Ready and Easy Way to Establish a Free Commonwealth on the eve of the Restoration (1660). His great poems were published after this political defeat. 

John Leonard (introduction) is a professor of English at the University of Western Ontario. 

Coralie Bickford-Smith (cover illustration) is an award-winning designer at Penguin Books, where she has created several highly acclaimed series designs. She studied typography at Reading University and lives in London. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Thrift Editions
  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (June 10, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 048644287X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486442877
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (495 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,856 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael Wischmeyer on June 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
Paradise Lost was not part of my core curriculum in science and mathematics. I was of course aware that scholars considered it a great work, a classic. But it seemed a bit daunting - long, difficult, dated, and possibly no longer relevant.
A few years ago I made two fortunate decisions. I elected to read Milton's Paradise Lost and I bought the Norton Critical Edition (edited by Scott Elledge). I read and reread Paradise Lost over a period of three months as well as the 300 pages of the Norton critical commentary. I was stunned by the beauty and power of Milton. Why had I waited so long to even approach such a literary masterpiece?
Make no mistake. I had been right in several ways. Paradise Lost is difficult, it is long, and full appreciation requires an understanding of the historical and religious context. But Paradise Lost is a remarkable achievement. It explores questions regarding man and God that are as relevant today as in the 17th century. And the genius of Milton has never been surpassed.
I found the Norton footnotes extremely helpful - definitions for rare or archaic words and expressions, explanations of the historical context, and links to the critical commentary section. The footnotes are at the page bottom, making them readily accessible.
The Norton biographical, historical, and literary commentaries were fascinating in their own right. I may well as spent as many hours reading commentary as with Paradise Lost itself.
John Milton led a remarkable life. His enthusiastic euology on Shakespeare was included in the second folio edition of Shakespeare in 1632. This was Milton's first public appearance as an author!
Read more ›
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Format: 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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Format: Paperback
When John Milton set out to write Paradise Lost, he had every intention of writing a masterpiece of the English language. He felt he was destined for greatness, and his creation does not disappoint. With over 9000 lines of some of the greatest poetry every written, Milton does an incredible job of using classical and biblical allusions within a classical format to create a surprisingly modern and incredibly poignant look at the nature of God and man. Add on to this the fact that he was blind when he composed it, and you cannot call PL anything less than a work of genius.

What separates this version from all the others available? The incredibly detailed work of the editors. The annotations of this edition are absolutely fantastic. They are plentiful (sometimes taking up as much as half a page), extremely informative, and surprisingly fun to read. Most annotated works such as this merely clarify antiquated vocabulary, but in this case the editors point out classical allusions, references to current events, and references to Milton's prose works. In addition to the prose and poetry associated with the text, the editors routinely mention the critical discourse (of which there is an unholy amount) associated with Milton. There are even moments where I laughed out loud at their comments. There is also a subtle touch to the annotations, in that there is no indication of annotations within the line. What I mean by this is that there are no bubbles or footnote marks in the body of the poem. The annotations at the bottom of the page simply point to a line number. This allows the reader to ignore the annotations if they choose to do so.
Another nice characteristic of this edition is the artwork and illustrations included. There's some really fantastic stuff in there.

All in all, this is an excellent edition of an excellent poem.
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