Customer Reviews


19 Reviews
5 star:
 (14)
4 star:
 (4)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest poem in English
Writing Paradise Lost in the wake of the Restoration, Milton the Puritan was really in dire straits. Having been an outspoken advocate of the regicide during the Commonwealth as Latin Secretary, a key figure in Cromwell's propaganda team, he was only spared execution because of the intervention of powerful friends, among them the poet and Milton's former amanuensis Andrew...
Published on 29 May 2012 by Andrew Page

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
A very lengthy book, arrived promptly and without issue. Essential A-Level reading.
Published 24 days ago by taylor73


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest poem in English, 29 May 2012
By 
Andrew Page (Linslade, Great Britain) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Paradise Lost (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
Writing Paradise Lost in the wake of the Restoration, Milton the Puritan was really in dire straits. Having been an outspoken advocate of the regicide during the Commonwealth as Latin Secretary, a key figure in Cromwell's propaganda team, he was only spared execution because of the intervention of powerful friends, among them the poet and Milton's former amanuensis Andrew Marvell, and also his blindness was considered punishment enough. For Milton, then, to write such a daring, innovative, and provocative masterpiece, a scathing satire which is at times heretical, truly attests to the courage of this great spirit. If he had not been spared we would have been denied arguably the greatest poem written in English.

The poem operates on so many levels, all of them subtly ambiguous. Milton deftly plays with the classical epic form to produce a Christian epic depicting the Fall of Man that demonstrates his profound erudition. He combines the best of Christian philosophy with his own controversial religious views in order to "justify the ways of God to men" in a comprehensive spiritual worldview. However, religion is not the only subject here. Paradise Lost is also a skilful satire on the politics of the Revolution and Milton's experience of defeat. There is a millenarian history of the future in which the Archangel Michael describes to Adam the fate of his descendants, how the first tyrant, Nimrod, arose, and how Christ will deliver salvation. He also exemplifies the Renaissance man's understanding of the cumulative knowledge of society. The cosmos of the poem is subscribed to neither the classical natural philosophy of the Ptolemaic system or the new rational scientific understanding of Galileo (whom Milton met whilst he was imprisoned in Florence) and Copernicus. He even suggests the possibility that aliens exist! It is also extremely incisive in terms of psychology and the Puritan spiritual experience: "The mind is its own place, and in itself / Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n".

The language is heavily Latinate, with long sentences containing multiple clauses, and incorporates many new Latinate and Greek words into English, often for the first time, as well as resurrecting many English words that were obsolete even in Milton's own time. The poetry nevertheless is very rythmical and the verve is exceptional. It is divine poetry, maybe even divinely inspired, as Milton's nephew John Phillips described how Milton would wake up in the morning with verses already composed in his head. At all times Milton observes what he saw as the principle of all good poetry - decorum, the appropriateness of the language for the subject, which in this case is as high as it gets. And refreshingly for a Renaissance poem of this length, Paradise Lost does not rely in the slightest on conceits or conventions, but instead highly creative and original uses of language and combinations of words and concepts.

Possibly the best thing about the narrative itself is the character of Satan, who really is the main protagonist. From the time he rises from the Lake of Fire till his Pyrrhic victory over mankind, his pride and pathos make him admirable and hard to hate outright. His remorse, longing, and ultimate resolution to rebel is described with such breathtaking virtuosity of rhetoric it makes him one of the great inventions of literature. Indeed, so sympathetic was Milton's portrayal of Satan, he is the most human character in the poem, which led Blake to comment wryly that Milton was of Satan's party without knowing it - but that this was the reason he was a great poet. Milton in his magnanimity is able to view all sides of an argument, but ultimately he makes his own decision about what is right and sticks by his guns till the death.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stunning poetry - with at times rather banal notes, 16 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Paradise Lost (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
Let's just start with the obvious. This an awesome (and I use that word advisedly) poem.

Turning to this edition specifically (and really it deserves 4.5 stars).

Positives:
1. The 'translation' is very good and gets over the rather 'haphazard' spelling (and to be fair there was no standard spelling in those days) of the original.
2. Also this is a nicely produced book with a good clear font making it easy to read with many helpful notes.
3. Good brief introduction.
4. It's very affordable!

Minus points (to be fair none is major):
1. at times rather banal/obvious notes eg just opening the book randomly I found the following:
- p.139 'unsucceeded - eternal, with no successor', p40 'want - lacking', p. 183 'end - both completion & object'
and I could give many more. Now many of the notes are very useful and interesting but when you're reading the poem seeing a note and then reading the obvious is irritating. I just think "you interrupted the flow to tell me that!".
2. In the introduction there is a tendency to over emphasise Milton's non-conformist even unorthodox stance. While that may be true (and I'm no Milton scholar) this is not so relevant for the poem itself which is basically & surprisingly orthodox. It leaves me wondering 'what's the beef' here?
3. Finally a very, very subjective comment but ... 'I hate the cover art'. Given the great art this poem has inspired, just think Blake or Dore, why choose 'that' but I suspect others will disagree and that's fine.

Overall
A 'good buy' especially if you want to carry it round/take it on holiday and just enjoy the glory of Milton's vision and verse.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very good edition, 27 Feb 2011
This review is from: Paradise Lost (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
This edition of paradise lost is perfect - especially if studying it for your degree.
footnotes throughout help you to understand and also give further insight into the context of the poem.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Finding Paradise, 18 Aug 2009
By 
A. T. BROOKS (SE London, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Paradise Lost (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
Paradise Lost (Oxford World's Classics)

Many people have a 'Greatest Books I've Never Read' List. Included on that list could well be Milton's great work.

There is no doubt that it can be daunting to see those pages of finely printed epic poetry, scattered with 17th Century word usage and Classical, Mythological and Biblical allusions.

We may even have started on Book 1, and 'fallen at the first fence', never to rise and canter on! What is needed is a clearly printed version, with helpful introduction, and (most importantly) copious on-page footnotes to enlighten and instruct. This is just such a version, and can be highly recommended.

Tick this classic text off your List! Milton, you can be living at this hour!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Milton was of the devil's party but didn't know it", 9 Aug 2009
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Paradise Lost (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
As Blake so rightly says, Milton's Satan is the true hero of PL - however unwittingly and however horrified Milton might have been to think it. Rebellious, over-reaching, full of pride and arrogance, he yet leaps off the page at us with his intelligence and his rhetoric and his plots.

In a way it's not that surprising: taking classical epic as his model, Milton creates an anti-hero in the mould of Achilles, also driven by pride and the urge to impose himself on his world. One of the many pleasures of Milton's great narrative poem is precisely the identifications of classical epic conventions and the innovative uses to which he puts them.

It seems it's not fashionable to read poetry these days, especially not narrative poetry (as opposed to `personal' lyric) but it's a huge shame to miss out on writing as thrilling as Milton's. With his great rolling sentences and complex diction it might take a little while to get into his rhythm but the effort is well worth it. From the opening scene where Satan and his minions are thrown out of heaven, to the quiet ending as Adam and Eve walk hand in hand away from Eden, Paradise Lost truly is a reading experience to savour.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Good story, 16 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Paradise Lost (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
I enjoyed the story, imagery and the language. I didn't expect to like it as much as I did, but I found it funny and engaging.

I was studying the text and discovered that for me I preferred listening to it as an audio recording together with reading it. I'd happily listen to it again.

It is thought to have been dictated by Milton after he went blind and therefore lends itself very well to audio. I'd recommend anyone finding it hard to follow to find a good audio version and listen to the story rather (or as well as) reading it. It's well worth a read and I liked this edition.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius, 11 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Paradise Lost (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
Where does one begin on the absolute mind bending journey that this book takes you on? Absolute genius.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Grand Tradition, 6 April 2014
This review is from: Paradise Lost (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
If you're already familiar with the incredible epic poetry of John Milton, then this edition of his classic Paradise Lost will increase and enhance your appreciation of the master. If you're not yet a Milton reader, this edition will make one of you in short order and inspire you to return to Paradise Lost again as well as to read his other great works. This Oxford Classic edition is needless to say highly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Intro is a bit heavy, but layout of text and notes are good, 15 Mar 2014
By 
Dr. K. E. Patrick (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Paradise Lost (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
This review is about the Oxford World's Classic edition of Paradise Lost.

I thought the introduction got terribly bogged down about different theories of interpretation of the text and suspect there are better ways of approaching Milton than it offered; however, the font size and layout of the poem itself was really good. Generous margins on both sides leave lots of room for notes to myself as I wade through Milton's dense verse, and the paper is nice for writing on with a strong, sharp pencil.

The footnotes tended to be of two types: either brief synonyms or modern equivalents of a word whose meaning has changed over the years, or brief explanations of allusions (mostly to either the Bible or Ovid). Sometimes, a summary of an obscure phrase or passage would have been helpful, but not often forthcoming.

Overall, this seems a good text for anyone who's of the calibre to be reading (or in a position to be assigned to read) the full text of Paradise Lost.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Seller helpful and product was good, 11 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Paradise Lost (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
I purchased this book for university and found it a very good study guide to the text as there are little notes in regards to the meaning of words.
I found the seller to be very helpful as well as my book got lost in the post, but the seller was very understanding and sent another out to me very promptly.
I would recommend this book to anyone studying Paradise Lost and also the seller (as I would use them again)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Paradise Lost (Oxford World's Classics)
Paradise Lost (Oxford World's Classics) by John Milton (Paperback - 17 April 2008)
£6.39
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews