It pains me to think that 'Paradise lost' sat gathering dust, unappreciated, on my shelf for over 2 years. Having tried about 3 times to wade into it, I'd find myself beaten back by its immensly dense, flowery language. But to anyone who is even remotely put off by the 'thee's and the 'thou's or who thinks that Milton is inaccessable to all but the most learned scholars I would implore you, you simply MUST read this book. Once you've made your way through the first few pages you'll be amazed at just how accessible this piece of literary genius is.
For those who don't know, this is an adaptation of the 'Genesis' creation myth, centering around the temptation of Adam and Eve by a rather disgruntled Satan. The poem begins with the expulsion of Satan and his rebel hoardes from the kingdom of heaven, and as he and his crew writhe in 'tartarean sulphure and strange fire', Milton guides us into a dark mythical world where armies of winged serephin clash with fallen rebel angels in battles of truly epic proportions, and where the fate of mankind hangs in the balance. Absolutely everything about this poem is epic and monumental, the subject matter, the language. And although there are times when Milton tends to waffle (I can hear the sound of a thousand English professors aghast with rage...!) but with Milton, when its good, its REALLY good.
This certainly isn't a book that you can skim read over coffee, you do have to work at it,(a dictionary to hand is advisable) but the rewards are massive. I found 'Paradise Lost' a truly enriching experience that I cannot praise highly enough. Thankfully I have Paradise Regained to look foward to.