Paradise Lost

Front Cover
Longman, 1998 - Bible - 716 pages

Longman Annotated English Poets
General Editor: John Barnard
Founding Editor: F. W. Bateson
Paradise Lost is the greatest work of one of the most acclaimed poets in English literature. It has had a profound influence on Western culture, and has attracted a vast amount of critical commentary of every sort. First published in 1968, Alastair Fowler s annotated edition of Paradise Lost is acknowledged as the most authoritative guide to this major work, and to the critical analysis that it has prompted.
This important new edition maintains the detailed annotation that has for many years provided an interesting and comprehensive explanation to this difficult but compelling poem, making it accessible both to the student and the general reader. It is the only recent edition of Paradise Lost to be based on the text of the first (1667) edition, now widely accepted to be closer to Milton's intention than that of 1674.
The revised introduction describes the poem and its remarkable critical reception, surveying the nine thousand or so critical contributions devoted to it, not least during the last thirty years. Besides providing glosses and illustrations of sources and analogues, the notes refer to extra-literary contexts, religious, political and scientific, and aim in particular to explain Milton's imaginary astronomy more fully than any other edition has attempted. The notes also provide an unusual amount of critical commentary, in such a way as to engage with current thought about the poem. They assimilate or reject much criticism of Paradise Lost, giving guidance on the current issues, and what sorts of assumptions and interpretations need to be made by an informed reader.
Alastair Fowler is Regius Professor Emeritus of Rhetoric and English Literature at the University of Edinburgh, and was formerly Professor of English at the University of Virginia, USA.
Reviews of previous edition:
This is a very Bible of a Milton, and the editors should be upheld forever as the supreme example to all future editors and annotators of English verse.
Selina Hastings, The Daily Telegraph
Those familiar with the complexities and indecisions of Milton scholarship know how formidable a task it is to prepare an adequately annotated edition of the poems. Mr Carey and Mr Fowler have tackled this task with zest and discrimination as well as perseverance. For several years to come their work will be indispensable to both scholars and students.
The Times Literary Supplement


From inside the book


The Printer to the Reader
Book II

6 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1998)

John Milton, English scholar and classical poet, is one of the major figures of Western literature. He was born in 1608 into a prosperous London family. By the age of 17, he was proficient in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. Milton attended Cambridge University, earning a B.A. and an M.A. before secluding himself for five years to read, write and study on his own. It is believed that Milton read evertything that had been published in Latin, Greek, and English. He was considered one of the most educated men of his time. Milton also had a reputation as a radical. After his own wife left him early in their marriage, Milton published an unpopular treatise supporting divorce in the case of incompatibility. Milton was also a vocal supporter of Oliver Cromwell and worked for him. Milton's first work, Lycidas, an elegy on the death of a classmate, was published in 1632, and he had numerous works published in the ensuing years, including Pastoral and Areopagitica. His Christian epic poem, Paradise Lost, which traced humanity's fall from divine grace, appeared in 1667, assuring his place as one of the finest non-dramatic poet of the Renaissance Age. Milton went blind at the age of 43 from the incredible strain he placed on his eyes. Amazingly, Paradise Lost and his other major works, Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes, were composed after the lost of his sight. These major works were painstakingly and slowly dictated to secretaries. John Milton died in 1674.

Bibliographic information