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Paradise Regained, Samson Agonistes, and the Complete Shorter Poems (Modern Library Classics) Paperback – December 4, 2012

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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, he was a master of polemical prose. Milton was a private tutor and, during the Interregnum, the Secretary for Foreign Tongues in Oliver Cromwell’s government.
 
William Kerrigan’s previous books include 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 earned numerous 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. A recipient of the Milton Society’s lifetime achievement award, he is the John J. Cavanaugh Professor in the Humanities at the University of Notre Dame.
 
Gordon Braden (translator) is Linden Kent Memorial Professor of English at the University of Virginia and co-author, with William Kerrigan, of The Idea of the Renaissance.
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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Library Classics
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library; Reprint edition (December 4, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812983718
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812983715
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #339,664 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By DJ on September 23, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Samson Agonistes is remarkably true to the mood and form of Greek drama, so if you savor Sophocles and Euripidies, this work will be among your favorites immediately. I was caught within the first few paragrpahs. Milton's deep tragic sense and sharpness with language enliven the sad but proud title character. Samson is a realist, and acknowledges that he has brought his fate upon himself by breaking his promise to God. He grieves his lowly position, after capture by the Philistines, not because it is so harsh for him but because he's admittedly squandered his one shot at divine purpose, the one announced by God at his birth. That's a lot for a guy in the Bible to live with. The only self-pity he permits is to lament the loss of his sight (his captors gouged his eyes out), and this makes one feel for Milton, who was blind by the time he wrote the poem. Samson is also darkly funny at times, as when he tells off Harapha, a Philistine big mouth who brags that he could have taken Samson in a fight back when Sam was in all his power. Samson, although now blind and shackled, retains the cocky confidence of the genuine bad-ass, and you know that he would have broken this punk's neck. I've always thought of Samson as a crude figure, essentially an early middle-eastern suicide bomber, but in Milton's hands, he doesn't seem it. During Samson's captivity, his father, Manoa, nearly succeeds in ransomimg his son, and an apologetic Delillah makes an appearance to plead for forgiveness and reunion. Neither of these events appear in Judges 13-16, but they give an entertaining tension to the story, and make Samson's ending feel all the more...tragic. You'll wish it could have turned out differently, but somehow be gratified with the ending anyway. There was no other way out for Samson; he's not like the rest of us.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Milton's "Paradise Regained" is a work of art, where he represents core theological concepts through the characters of Satan and Jesus. While Satan was a heroic figure in Milton's previous book, he is a true villain in this one. Rather, Christ is portrayed as the hero. Although Milton's Puritan ideals leak through they do not distract from the core theology overmuch.
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