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on 8 July 2017
I wanted to read this especially as I love the Iambic Pentameter blank verse style of writing but also because I have been thinking of writing a major biblical poetic work since I started writing spiritual poetry for about four years now. The idea of reading Milton had been on the back burner for years.

I read it through lightly, as I am not versed in the classics, but was looking for inspiration from the poem for my own project. I got that in bucketloads and have since started my poem, having written over 1050 lines so far. It will take time but I will get there. Paradise Lost is a real journey, difficult at times, but so worth it. Essential reading.
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on 30 July 2017
This is a review of the book's presentation.
This is a review of the Slipcase edition.
The value for your money with this hardcover edition is going to be hard to beat. I already had a paperback version of Paradise Lost and I was looking for a version that presented the contents with appropriate decoration. This edition makes the most of Gustave Dore's illustrations with an embossed picture on the front cover of the book. The slipcase itself is done nicely and is a small peak at what to expect. Once you remove the book you see the embosssd picture of one of Gustave Dore's illustrations and throughout the book all of his illustrations are printed very large on their own page.

I'd say this version is definitely for someone (like myself) who is already familiar with this poem and wants a deluxe presentation of it. However looking at the price of this book just being £10, which I cannot believe as this would easily pass for a book of £50 and considering the price of paperback editions if you are buying this poem for the first time you might as well buy this version and not bother with a cheap paperback.
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on 5 August 2015
Written in the early part of the Enlightenment or Age of Reason period, a wonderful, poetical, 17th.C. attempt to explain the human condition based on the mythical, biblical account of the creation of planet Earth. In short a text so good, I suggest, that it might easily make today's, 21st.C. non-indoctrinated, free thinking, materialist reader sad to be so enlightened! The 'kindle' format I received was in ten chapters with no notes so 'not the one to be with' if you're memory of and ability to understand the text is to be questioned.

To call it 'illustrated' is an insult to anyone capable of reading it; the text most worthy of illustration I personally, have ever read, painting pictures continuously before ones eyes is supplemented here by a landscape 19th.C. painting at the beginning of each chapter by artists such as Anton Hlavacek and Albert Bierstadt not to detract from their works in any way.

'Mustn't grumble', mind, @ 99p, worth every newpence and more.
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on 2 June 2013
The famous interpretation of Paradise Lost is that Satan is the hero with all the best lines. And there is a lot of validity in that. When he rebels in Heaven, taking with him a third of the angels, stricken by "envie" of the Son, he reveals himself as a thoughtful, interesting, innovative, brave character. But you can interpret Paradise Lost as a comparison of Satan and the Son. And the Son is presented as a kind, modest, thoughtful, innovative, brave character. He is kinder and softer than the humanised Son of the New Testament, and he softens the Father who immediately accepts his pleadings on behalf of mankind. The love that comes from the Son seems similar to me to the love which Popes, archbishops and cardinals refer to when they repeat the idea that "God is love". His love is immediate and merciful - not like the angry love of Jesus in the New Testament or the tough love of the Father. For instance, the Son is described as having a "sense of new job ineffably diffused" within him and of having "Divine compassion" which visibly appeared on him, and showing "Love without end, and without measure Grace". The Father also becomes deeply merciful, stating at one stage that either justice will survive or that man will - meaning that, if he wants man to survive, he must be merciful.
Another hero is Adam who also becomes thoughtful and brave as he becomes older and develops. Eve is tricky as she is painted as the traditional, beautiful wife who gets into terrible trouble when she uses her initiative (and eats the apple). The portrait of Eve is shocking, in fact. No wonder women were repressed by men when they read this or the Old Testament. She was blamed for everything and was untrustworthy and, under pressure, slippery. (At one stage she blames Adam for having listened to her entreaties to let her go off alone and, as it worked out, to be tempted by the serpent.)
Anyway, this is an astounding tale with wonderful characterisation, put together by someone with great imagination and great rationality. It is hard to read, however. Milton was a great linguist and his Latin style influences the construction of his sentences.
Just to quote a little on Satan. After "the Arch-fiend lay/Chain'd on the burning lake", having left Heaven, he has to work out what to do and how to organise Hell as far as he can. He says that "The mind is its own place and in itself/Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n". Later he tries to work out what doing evil means in practice, and so aims to create a system in which "Fate shall yield/ To fickle Chance, and CHAOS judge the strife". That is an interesting definition of Hell, in my view, and one that we do import to earth (in civil wars, extreme poverty and even in normal life).
This is ultimately a very optimistic work in many ways. For instance, the Angel Michael tells that fallen Adam that if he can feel love for others he "shalt possess a Paradise within thee" and that this could make him "happier farr" than just being in Paradise. Also, and this is easy to miss in the blandishments of the Testaments New and Old, man was created as a beautiful creature in the image of God. Adam and Eve seem "Lords of all" in Paradise.
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on 15 March 2014
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.
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on 6 May 2018
If all you want is the text, this will do you.

Me, I wanted an introduction, a brief bio of Milton (couple of pages) to give context, page numbers, some illustrations, an index, footnotes and a respectable font size, not 7 point. I ought to have spent a bit more money.

I suppose you get what you pay for.
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on 16 July 2014
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.
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on 19 September 2017
It would be presumptuous to award stars to one of the greatest works of English literature, but readers should be warned that the Kindle edition contains a significant number of misprints due to poor OCR. So only 4 stars.
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on 30 September 2011
Paradise Lost is the great epic of English poetry, a seventeenth century soap opera, but it is a hard read. I've had a copy of another edition on my shelves for sixty years, and I never managed to read it from beginning to end until I bought this edition. Philip Pullman's introductions to the books are wonderful, they show insight, they encourage you to read on, and having read the book, you return to the introductions and learn again what it is that has shown you Milton's grasp of man's failed nature. Like Pullman, I'm not a believer, but there is so much here that shows me a humanist view of life, not what Milton intended, I suppose, but who can tell? God's intentions, set out here, are so often what I want for the world. I don't think the lack of scholarly notes matters. This is a book to be read, and enjoyed, for what it is, a masterpiece of English poetry. And the book is so beautifully printed, so handsomely bound, a wonderful contribution from the Oxford University Press when so many publishers are turning into the petrol stations of book retailing.
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on 13 August 2016
I bought this epic poem because I needed it for my A Levels, it's a set text. The book had the abstracts in yet no line numbers for reference. I found it hard to use and quote specific parts of the text as I found myself counting for the line numbers and labeling them myself. After I couldn't take it anymore, I bought a new one. The poem itself it's fine. For the price I paid, I wasn't too upset but for me, the line numbers are essential.
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