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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very good edition,
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.
26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Finding Paradise,
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!
2 of 2 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 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.
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",
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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Grand Tradition,
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.
4.0 out of 5 stars Intro is a bit heavy, but layout of text and notes are good,
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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Seller helpful and product was good,
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)
5.0 out of 5 stars Paradise Lost,
Yes. Another classic. What more can I add? I could only read it one page at a time then follow all the footnotes and endnotes to ensure I was really getting the most out of the text.
5.0 out of 5 stars books,
This was bought as a gift so although i havent read this book my daughter seems to be very happy with it
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking literature,
Simply breathtaking in it's scope, the 12 chapter poem details the fall of lucifer from paradise where he chooses to reign supreme in hell and in the ultimate act of revenge decides to sabotage God's greatest creation; Man. Whether you believe the stories from the bible/old testament, if you take this as a separate piece of fiction, it is simply unrivalled in it's lucidity and creativity.
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